Jeremy Sochan

Cavaliers Rumors: Sexton, LeVert, Trade Targets, More

Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com recently spoke to Michael Scotto about a number of Cavaliers-related topics for the latest edition of the HoopsHype podcast.

Guard Collin Sexton, whose season ended prematurely after suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee just 11 games into the season, will be an interesting player to watch this summer. Sexton will be a restricted free agent once Cleveland tenders him a $7,228,449 qualifying offer. As a restricted free agent, the Cavs will have the ability to match any offer sheet for the 23-year-old, and since he’s coming off an injury and not many teams will have cap space to spend on free agents, a reunion seems likely.

When the Cavs were discussing a rookie scale extension with Sexton’s representatives last summer, the two sides floated a contract similar to the one Bogdan Bogdanovic received from Atlanta, which was four years and $72MM (with a player option in the final season), sources tell Fedor. However, he hears that the Cavs value Sexton in the $15-18MM per year range, while Sexton is seeking something closer to $18-22MM annually.

Although Sexton has undoubtedly been productive on the offense end, averaging 24.3 PPG, 3.1 RPG and 4.4 APG on .475/.371/.815 shooting in 2020/21, Fedor notes that there were questions about Sexton’s fit entering ’21/22, and his injury and the team’s success without him didn’t help his case. Given that he’s a 6’1″ shooting guard and a subpar defender, some teams view the former No. 8 pick as more of a sixth man than a starter, which could hurt his leverage in contract negotiations.

Scotto wonders if the Knicks or Wizards might be interested in Sexton, noting that both teams are looking for guards, but neither team has cap space. As Fedor previously reported, he hears that Cleveland has been curious if the Pistons might pursue Sexton, but sources tell Fedor that the Cavaliers don’t believe any team will end up offering him $20MM+ per season.

Here’s more from Scotto and Fedor:

  • Both the Cavs and Caris LeVert have expressed interest in reaching an extension this summer, and league executives tell Scotto that a shorter deal in the $19-21MM range might make sense for both sides. However, as Fedor observes, LeVert will be on an expiring $18.8MM contract in ’22/23, so if the Cavs don’t like the types of numbers Levert’s agents are throwing out, they could just wait it out and perhaps use him as trade bait next season.
  • Kevin Love improved his trade stock after a bounce-back, healthy season, and both Scotto and Fedor believe that his $28.9MM contract could be used as a trade chip if the team opts to pursue higher-paid veterans.
  • Noting Cleveland needs two-way wing scorers and a solid backup point guard for Darius Garland, Fedor hears the Cavs are interested in a number of veterans as potential trade targets: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Bojan Bogdanovic, Gordon Hayward, Tobias Harris, Harrison Barnes, Gary Trent Jr., Jerami Grant, Aaron Gordon, Andrew Wiggins, and Mike Conley.
  • Although there’s mutual interest in a reunion with Ricky Rubio, Fedor says money could become an obstacle to a deal being completed. Rubio is likely to miss at least a portion of next season after suffering a second torn ACL in his left knee in December, and using the mid-level exception to sign him would reduce the club’s flexibility while still leaving a hole on the roster until he returns.
  • Sources tell Fedor that if a deal with Rubio doesn’t come to fruition, the Cavs would be very open to using their full mid-level to sign Grizzlies backup point guard Tyus Jones, assuming Memphis lets him walk in free agency and he’s unable to get more money elsewhere. Other guards Cleveland might look into in free agency are Delon Wright, Goran Dragic, and Raul Neto. If the Cavs pivot to a wing/forward, Kyle Anderson, Jeremy Lamb, and T.J. Warren are possibilities, according to Fedor.
  • For potential draft candidates with the No. 14 pick, Fedor hears the Cavs are fans of Malaki Branham, Johnny Davis, Bennedict Mathurin, Tari Eason, TyTy Washington, and Jeremy Sochan. Those players range from Nos. 9-18 on ESPN’s big board, so some might not be available at 14.

Northwest Notes: Mitchell, Gobert, Thunder, Branch, Timberwolves

Eric Walden and Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune wonder what Jazz general manager Justin Zanik might be able to get for All-Stars Donovan Mitchell or Rudy Gobert on the trade market, should the team opt to break up its playoff core during the offseason

Walden and Larsen note that the Jazz own one of the NBA’s priciest rosters. The club lacks a pick in the 2022 draft, through which it could have theoretically added complementary young talent under team control. Utah has yet to get beyond the second round of the playoffs with its Mitchell-Gobert core.

The authors also express skepticism that offloading the contracts of expensive starters Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Royce O’Neale, or sixth man Jordan Clarkson would result in any sort of meaningful return. This leaves the pathway to improve the team without offloading Mitchell or Gobert fairly narrow.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • The Thunder are likely looking at a variety of players with the No. 12 pick near the end of the 2022 draft lottery, writes Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman. Mussatto previews the fits of several young prospects, including G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels, Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan, and Memphis center Jalen Duren, among others.
  • The Trail Blazers are reshaping their front office under new permanent general manager Joe Cronin during the offseason. Jason Quick of The Athletic (Twitter link) reports that assistant GM Bill Branch, who had been in Portland since 2010, has been let go by the team. This latest move continues a brain trust overhaul that began in December 2021.
  • Tulsa forward Jeriah Horne, St. John’s wing Julian Champagnie and Alabama guard JD Davison are among the NBA hopefuls who have been brought in to work out for the Timberwolves as Minnesota prepares for the 2022 draft, per Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter video links). The Timberwolves possess the Nos. 19, 40, 48, and 50 picks this year.

Draft Notes: Sochan, Combine, Withdrawals, Davison

The Pelicans and Nuggets are among the teams believed to have interest in Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan, while the Spurs are viewed as a “strong fit” for him, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic writes in his recap of last week’s draft combine.

According to Vorkunov, one team executive put Sochan’s floor at the No. 12 pick, which means the Nuggets – who control No. 21 – would have to trade up if they want a shot at him. He’s far more likely to be available for the Pelicans (No. 8) or Spurs (No. 9).

Vorkunov’s article includes several more tidbits on the combine, including a look at some of the more outside-the-box questions teams asked in their interviews with prospects. According to Vorkunov, one club challenged Christian Braun to repeated staring contests, while the Nuggets told players during their meetings that if they could name enough players on the club’s roster, one of their team officials would do push-ups.

Here’s more on the 2022 NBA draft:

Draft Notes: Sochan, Murray, Daniels, Walton, Mayer

Jeremy Sochan doesn’t mind being thought of as irritating, writes David Aldridge of The Athletic. The Baylor forward, who has gone from a fringe first-rounder to a likely lottery pick in a matter of months, sees aggressive, annoying defense as his ticket to success in the NBA.

“I’ve always had that little edge,” he said. “My mom, she was my first coach, and to this day, she tells me defense comes first. … She used to tell me to be cheeky, being able to see the play two steps ahead. So, I feel with that, being cheeky, maybe getting into people’s spaces, can separate their games, and they can play worse. There’s examples: Draymond (Green), Patrick (Beverley), Jrue (Holiday), so there’s so many. I feel like I can be one of those in the next step.”

Sochan was the main attraction Friday in Chicago at an eight-player workout staged by Tandem Sports + Entertainment. At least nine NBA teams had representatives at the session, according to Aldridge, including the Spurs and Knicks, who both interviewed Sochan during the Draft Combine. San Antonio holds the ninth pick and New York has No. 11, which is about the range where Sochan is expected to be taken.

“We did a little bit (of defense) at the end, with the two-on-two, the screen work, but you can’t really show too much,” Sochan said after the session ended. “I feel like they’re going to have that in mind, and when I go to team workouts, I’ll be able to show a little bit more of that. And whoever picks me, I’ll be able to show that in practices and games.”

There’s more on the draft:

  • Iowa’s Keegan Murray will turn 22 before he plays his first NBA game, but he doesn’t believe his age will discourage teams from drafting him, according to James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. “I’d say I’m a 21-year-old in an 18-year-old’s body,” Murray said. “In high school, I was a 5-foot-10 sophomore and ended up growing to 6-foot-8 my senior year of high school. So I’m a late bloomer in that sense, so for me, I’m young. I feel young. … If you’re comparing me on age and not what I do on the court, then maybe that’s another conversation. I feel like my ceiling is as high as anyone else in the draft.”
  • Dyson Daniels is starting to get some consideration as a top-five pick after an outstanding pro day at the combine, tweets Jonathan Givony of ESPN. The Australian swingman, who played with G League Ignite this season, impressed scouts with his shooting and “immense potential,” according to Givony.
  • North Carolina guard Kerwin Walton worked out for some teams this week, but he may decide to return to college and transfer, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Walton’s workouts included the Timberwolves and Bucks, and he has an upcoming session with the Hornets, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link).
  • Baylor’s Matthew Mayer plans to take his name out of the draft and transfer to another school, per Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog“I’ve decided that I’m coming back to college, but don’t know where,” he said.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans Pick, Kidd, Rockets Draft, Dinwiddie

The Pelicans already have the look of perennial playoff contender and now they’re armed with the No. 8 pick. Who will they take? Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune takes a closer look at five potential targets, including Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin, Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis and Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks were fined $50K by the league for bench decorum violations during Game 7 at Phoenix, which baffled coach Jason Kidd, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. “I know about the fine. Just trying to figure out what we did wrong to get the fine,’ he said. “Who complained? It was a blowout, so I don’t think the fans complained.”
  • Who will the Rockets target with the No. 3 pick? GM Rafael Stone is more concerned about what a player can’t do than what he can do, as he told Kelly Iko of The Athletic. “You can only play five guys, and the league is moving towards less positionality. It’s fine to have players with redundant strengths,” Stone said. “I do think it’s hard if they have redundant weaknesses. And players aren’t perfect, you know, so you’re definitely going to have players with weaknesses. I think that is something that you have to be careful with.”
  • One of the reasons why the Mavericks have reached the Western Conference Finals is the mid-season acquisition of guard Spencer Dinwiddie in the Kristaps Porzingis deal with Washington. Luka Doncic doesn’t downplay its significance, Marc J. Spears of Andscape writes. “He is amazing with the ball,” Dončić said. “He can do a lot of things. He’s a baller. That’s the best way to describe him. We’re glad to have him.”

Central Notes: Pistons, Pacers, Cavaliers, Draft

Although there’s a consensus among most draft experts that the top tier in the 2022 class consists of only three – or maybe four – prospects, Pistons general manager Troy Weaver, whose team will be selecting fifth overall, said on Tuesday night that he doesn’t agree with that assessment.

“I don’t see it as a ‘big three,'” Weaver said, according to Nolan Bianchi of The Detroit News. “I think there’s tremendous players all along the board. Length — everyone wants to add length and size.  We’re gonna pick the best player for us. Length, size, speed, it really doesn’t matter. We’ll pick the best player for the Pistons. We’re very comfortable with the guys that are all along the board in the lottery.”

Weaver said he considers the 2022 draft class to be about as strong as last year’s, especially in the top half of the lottery. He also confirmed that fit will be a consideration when the Pistons make their pick at No. 5 and expressed confidence that the incoming rookie will have no problem fitting in with the culture the team has established over the last couple years.

“There’s a certain culture here. Working hard, being selfless. Coach (Dwane) Casey‘s coaching staff has done that,” Weaver said, per Bianchi. “We’re confident because the last two drafts, we’ve had three players make All-Rookie, so we’re very comfortable with our culture here and what our coaches have been able to do with these young players.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said on Tuesday that he isn’t worried about having slipped to No. 6 as a result of the lottery, writes James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. “I would’ve much rather have the first pick because we want the shot,” Pritchard said. “You want to take the shot, but historically there’s seven really good players in every draft. If we make the right pick, we’re gonna be just fine.”
  • Pritchard is excited about the flexibility that the Pacers will have this summer as they consider roster moves, Boyd adds in the same story. “We’ve got cap space. We’ve got a good pick,” Pritchard said. “… The gamut of what we can do is wide and wider than I’ve ever seen ever in my time in this league, and I like that because now we get to get on the board and look at every scenario. There won’t be one. There won’t be two. There might 50 things we’ll look (at) up on the board, and that’s when you can be aggressive.”
  • Adding wings and play-makers will be a top priority for the Cavaliers this offseason, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who explores which prospects the team might target with the 14th overall pick. Malaki Branham (Ohio State), Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite), Tari Eason (LSU), and Jeremy Sochan (Baylor) are among the prospects the Cavs like, says Fedor, though it’s possible not all of them will still be available at No. 14.

Draft Notes: Withdrawals, Pro Days, Turell, Minott

UAB senior guard Jordan Walker, San Francisco senior guard Khalil Shabazz, and Auburn sophomore big man Johni Broome are among the players who have indicated that they’ll withdraw from the 2022 NBA draft class and return to college for at least one more year, according to a series of announcements.

None of the three were considered great bets to be drafted in 2022, so they’ll look to improve their stock in 2022/23 before potentially returning pro a year from now. Walker and Shabazz will have exhausted their NCAA eligibility at that point, while Broome – who recently announced that he’ll transfer to Auburn from Morehead State – will have the option of remaining in school.

Early entrants in this year’s draft have until the end of the day on June 1 to withdraw their names if they want to retain their NCAA eligibility. The NBA’s official withdrawal deadline is June 13.

Here’s more on the 2022 draft:

  • Earlier this week, the NBA sent teams a list of 17 Pro Days that will be run by agencies at next week’s draft combine in Chicago, per Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Shaedon Sharpe, Keegan Murray, Dyson Daniels, and Jeremy Sochan will be among the many prospects in attendance at those various agency-run Pro Days, Givony adds.
  • Yeshiva swingman Ryan Turell, a Division III star, has been forced to withdraw from next week’s NBA G League Elite Camp after suffering a minor injury in a workout, sources tell Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter link).
  • Memphis wing Josh Minott has worked out for the Nets, Grizzlies, and Bucks early in the pre-draft process, a league source tells Zagoria (Twitter link).
  • Jeremy Woo of SI.com identifies five of his favorite under-the-radar prospects in the 2022 draft class, including NC State guard Terquavion Smith and UConn forward Tyrese Martin.

Full List Of 2022 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed its list of 76 players who have been invited – and who are expected to attend – next week’s draft combine in Chicago. The combine workouts will take place from May 18-20.

Over the course of the week, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft likely won’t participate in scrimmages, those top prospects are still expected to attend. That group includes Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, and Jaden Ivey.

A handful of standout players from the G League Elite Camp could be invited to participate in the combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 76 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link):

  1. Ochai Agbaji, G/F, Kansas (senior)
  2. Patrick Baldwin Jr., F, Milwaukee (freshman)
  3. Paolo Banchero, F, Duke (freshman)
  4. Dominick Barlow, F, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  5. MarJon Beauchamp, G/F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  6. Hugo Besson, G, Australia (born 2001)
  7. Malaki Branham, G/F, Ohio State (freshman)
  8. Christian Braun, G, Kansas (junior)
  9. Kendall Brown, F, Baylor (freshman)
  10. John Butler Jr., F/C, Florida State (freshman)
  11. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (junior)
  12. Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  13. Max Christie, G, Michigan State (freshman)
  14. Kofi Cockburn, C, Illinois (junior)
  15. Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  16. Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin (sophomore)
  17. JD Davison, G, Alabama (freshman)
  18. Moussa Diabate, F, Michigan (freshman)
  19. Ousmane Dieng, F, Australia (born 2003)
  20. Khalifa Diop, C, Spain (born 2002)
  21. Jalen Duren, C, Memphis (freshman)
  22. Tari Eason, F, LSU (sophomore)
  23. Keon Ellis, G, Alabama (senior)
  24. Michael Foster, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  25. Collin Gillespie, G, Villanova (super-senior)
  26. AJ Griffin, F, Duke (freshman)
  27. Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  28. Ron Harper Jr., F, Rutgers (senior)
  29. Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga (freshman)
  30. Harrison Ingram, F, Stanford (freshman)
  31. Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue (sophomore)
  32. Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana (junior)
  33. Nikola Jovic, F, Serbia (born 2003)
  34. Johnny Juzang, G, UCLA (junior)
  35. Ismael Kamagate, C, France (born 2001)
  36. Trevor Keels, G, Duke (freshman)
  37. Walker Kessler, F/C, Auburn (sophomore)
  38. Christian Koloko, C, Arizona (junior)
  39. Jake LaRavia, F, Wake Forest (junior)
  40. Justin Lewis, F, Marquette (sophomore)
  41. E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State (junior)
  42. Bennedict Mathurin, G/F, Arizona (sophomore)
  43. Matthew Mayer, F, Baylor (senior)
  44. Bryce McGowens, G, Nebraska (freshman)
  45. Leonard Miller, F, Canada (born 2003)
  46. Josh Minott, F, Memphis (freshman)
  47. Aminu Mohammed, G/F, Georgetown (freshman)
  48. Iverson Molinar, G, Mississippi State (junior)
  49. Jean Montero, G, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  50. Wendell Moore, F, Duke (junior)
  51. Keegan Murray, F, Iowa (sophomore)
  52. Andrew Nembhard, G, Gonzaga
  53. Scotty Pippen Jr., G, Vanderbilt (junior)
  54. Gabriele Procida, G/F, Italy (born 2002)
  55. Orlando Robinson, F/C, Fresno State (junior)
  56. David Roddy, F, Colorado State (junior)
  57. Ryan Rollins, G, Toledo (sophomore)
  58. Dereon Seabron, G, NC State (sophomore)
  59. Shaedon Sharpe, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  60. Jabari Smith, F, Auburn (freshman)
  61. Terquavion Smith, G, NC State (freshman)
  62. Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor (freshman)
  63. Matteo Spagnolo, G, Italy (born 2003)
  64. Julian Strawther, G/F, Gonzaga (sophomore)
  65. Dalen Terry, G, Arizona (sophomore)
  66. Drew Timme, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  67. Jabari Walker, F, Colorado (sophomore)
  68. TyTy Washington Jr., G, Kentucky (freshman)
  69. Peyton Watson, G/F, UCLA (freshman)
  70. Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame (freshman)
  71. Alondes Williams, G, Wake Forest (super-senior)
  72. Jalen Williams, G, Santa Clara (junior)
  73. Jaylin Williams, F/C, Arkansas (sophomore)
  74. Mark Williams, C, Duke (sophomore)
  75. Trevion Williams, F/C, Purdue (senior)
  76. Fanbo Zeng, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Harden, Horford, Knicks

Appearing on The ETCs with Kevin Durant podcast, Nets guard Kyrie Irving said he never felt like he was fully “back” during the 2021/22 season. Irving’s decision to not get vaccinated against COVID-19 meant he didn’t make his debut until January and only appeared in a total of 29 regular season games. It also meant he was uncertain in the first couple months of the season about whether he’d even suit up for Brooklyn again.

“I was wondering at home what my future was going to look like, you know?” Irving said, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “Whether I was going to be traded, whether I was going to be released, whether I was going to get the opportunity to be on another team, how I was going to spin this for myself in a positive way.

“So, I kept affirming to myself things are going to change. I had people around me — and I’m grateful for them — affirming that things were going to change. But I never felt like myself throughout the season, because I’m usually sustaining a level of growth throughout the year, instead of trying to catch up with everybody that’s been playing for four or five months. They’ve been at it every day since October or September.”

Irving has an opportunity to become an unrestricted free agent this summer if he turns down his 2022/23 player option, but has indicated he has no plans to leave the Nets.

Let’s round up a few more items from out of the Atlantic…

  • During a discussion on The Athletic NBA Show about what the Sixers‘ roster will look like beyond this season, Sam Amick said he wouldn’t be shocked if James Harden‘s next contract with the team is worth a little less than the max. “When the Sixers got (Harden), their intel was that he would potentially be willing to take less,” Amick said (hat tip to RealGM). “And obviously, you know, nobody knows him better than (Sixers president of basketball operations) Daryl (Morey).”
  • Al Horford‘s $26.5MM salary for 2022/23 is only partially guaranteed for $14.5MM, but that doesn’t mean the Celtics will necessarily part with him this offseason, writes Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. “He has been so valuable to them, the way he has defended, the way he passes, the way he shoots,” a rival executive told Deveney. “He has helped develop Robert Williams, too. He is a leader.” As that exec pointed out, Horford’s partial guarantee would also increase to $19.5MM if Boston makes the NBA Finals, which would affect the team’s decision.
  • ESPN draft analyst Seth Greenberg identifies Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan as a player the Knicks should seriously consider if they’re picking at No. 11 or 12 in this year’s draft, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. Greenberg also singled out Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin and Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis as other logical targets for New York.

Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan Declaring For NBA Draft

Baylor freshman forward Jeremy Sochan has decided to enter the 2022 NBA draft and will forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility by hiring representation, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN. According to Givony, Sochan will sign with Jim Tanner and Deirunas Visockas of Tandem Sports.

Sochan only started one of his 30 games in his first and only college season, but made an impact off the bench, averaging 9.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 1.3 SPG in 25.1 minutes per contest and earning Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year honors. Sochan, who won’t turn 19 until next month, also established himself as one of the best defenders at the college level, says Givony.

Although Baylor claimed a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, the Bears didn’t last long, having been eliminated in the second round by North Carolina. Despite the disappointing end to his season, Sochan made a strong impression on NBA scouts and projects as a potential lottery pick, according to Givony, who ranks him No. 13 on ESPN’s big board.

“I always knew that I’ll be in the NBA, whether it took one year or four,” Sochan said, adding that he’s looking forward to showing teams how mature his game is for his age. “I have my own game that takes from many different players and positions. Some players that I think I can learn a lot from are Mikal Bridges, Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green, Jaylen Brown, Aaron Gordon, Boris Diaw, just to name a few.”

Sochan is the third Baylor prospect to declare for this year’s draft, joining teammates Kendall Brown and James Akinjo.