John Collins

Hawks Sign John Collins To Rookie Contract

The Hawks have signed 2017 first-round pick John Collins to his rookie contract, the team announced today in a press release.

The 19th overall pick in last Thursday’s draft, Collins will be in line for a deal worth more than $11MM over the next four years. His salary in his rookie season will be $1,936,920, as our breakdown of rookie scale salaries shows.

Collins is one of several first-rounders to sign his new NBA contract on the first day he was eligible to do so. Because the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement no longer provides any additional cap flexibility to teams that keep their first-rounders unsigned, several teams are taking care of business with their draftees immediately.

Heat Notes: Leaf, Collins, Reed, Aldridge

The Heat will be looking for size with the 14th pick, especially if Luke Kennard and Donovan Mitchell are both off the board, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. T.J. Leaf, who proved to be an effective outside shooter at UCLA, is a possibility, along with Gonzaga’s Zach Collins, who can also hit from 3-point range. Miami would like to find a stretch four to team with Hassan Whiteside, a traditional low-post center.

If Collins is off the board, Jackson says the Heat will look at Jarrett Allen of Texas and Justin Patton of Creighton. Both are 6’11” and are targeted for the back of the lottery or possibly later. A minor injury prevented Allen from working out for Miami, but he held an interview Sunday and reportedly impressed team officials. Patton did participate in a workout for the Heat on Sunday.

Jackson offers more insight into Miami’s strategy for tonight and beyond:

  • Drafting a backup center would protect the Heat in case Willie Reed leaves in free agency. The front office fears that Reed will get an offer significantly higher than the team is willing to pay.
  • Leaf could be a replacement for either Luke Babbitt or James Johnson, two forwards who are both headed for free agency.
  • Another big man to consider is John Collins of Wake Forest, who impressed the Heat in a workout last week. Miami will also look at Duke’s Harry Giles, but might be scared off by his history of knee problems. Giles canceled a workout in Miami and never rescheduled.
  • If the Heat decide to trade down, they will focus on UCLA center Ike Anigbogu and Kentucky power forward Bam Adebayo.
  • Miami is a possible destination if LaMarcus Aldridge wants out of San Antonio. The Spurs are seeking a top 10 draft pick and would like to cut salary to make a run at Chris Paul. Jackson says Miami could offer a competitive package of the 14th pick, Wayne Ellington, whose $6.27MM contract won’t be guaranteed until July 12th, Justise Winslow and Josh McRoberts.

Draft Notes: Jackson, Bako, Collins

The Hornets worked out a handful of possible first-round draft picks Sunday, including familiar face Justin Jackson. Alongside video footage of Jackson following the workout, Diedra Laird of the Charlotte Observer writes that club additionally auditioned Bam Adebayo, Luke Kennard and more.

Jackson, a North Carolina product, is being forecast as the No. 19 overall pick in NBADraft.net‘s latest mock draft. Duke product Kennard, on the other hand, has been projected as the No. 12 pick. Adebayo, out of Kentucky, is currently forecast to go No. 17 in that same mock.

Although the Hornets will pick earlier than any of those projections at No. 11, it’s reasonable that they could elect to take a flyer on a blue chip prospect that played their college basketball in state.

There are more pre-draft workout notes from around the league:

Central Notes: Korver, Williams, Workouts

There’s a better chance that the Cavaliers bring mid-season trade acquisition Kyle Korver back for 2017/18 than buyout season bargain Deron Williams, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. In response to a reader’s question, Vardon broke down the circumstances of their respective pending free agencies.

Because they gave up a first-round pick to acquire him, the Cavaliers hold Korver’s Bird Rights. That means, of course, that they can go above the salary cap to retain him, something outright inevitable given that they’re operating with the league’s highest payroll. Bringing Korver – who led the league in 3-point percentage at age 36 – back is a cost effective way of keeping offensive weapons on board for next season.

Williams, in contrast, will be limited in the size of contract he can land with the Cavaliers, a figure certainly less than what he drew on the open market with the Mavs last offseason. Despite his having been waived by Dallas in February, his eventual playoff struggles with Cleveland and the staggering fact that he’ll make $5.5MM for the next three years thanks to a stretch provision dating back to his time with the Nets, Vardon says he’s “unlikely” to sign with the Cavaliers for just their $5.1 exception.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks worked out a handful of guards Friday, including Donovan Mitchell (projected to be drafted at No. 14 by NBADraft.net) and Justin Jackson (No. 19). A report on Milwaukee’s official website has the details.
  • The Pistons spent time Friday working out a number of deep sleepers, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets. The scribe notes facetiously that the names aren’t likely candidates to go 12th overall. With no second-round pick, Detroit could be auditioning eventual free agent options.
  • The Pacers will bring John Collins (projected to be drafted at No. 13 by NBADraft.net) and Harry Giles (No. 22) in for a workout Saturday, the team writes on its official site, as well as several others.
  • A combination of age and limited financial flexibility could make it difficult for the Cavaliers to improve this offseason, Bobby Marks of The Vertical writes. Marks notes that even if the club looked elsewhere than Kyle Korver and Deron Williams, they’d only have minimum contracts and the mid-level exception at their disposal.

Southeast Notes: Millsap, White, Vasquez, NBA Draft

The Hawks are planning on using their 19th overall pick in the NBA Draft on the best player available and Paul Millsap‘s contract situation will not change that, per Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (links via Twitter).

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk told Vivlamore for a separate story that Millsap “might get better offers than we can make him.” Despite Atlanta’s desire to retain the four-time All-Star, the team is focused on assembling the best roster possible and worry about Millsap — or replacing him — afterward.

“You draft the best talent available regardless who is on your roster. … I think that’s when you get in trouble, when you draft off need not off talent,” Schlenk said. “Especially the way the league is going where guys are interchangeable and guys are multi-positional, you just take the best player.”

The Hawks went 43-39 last season, making the postseason as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. However, last year’s prized offseason acquisition Dwight Howard struggled in the postseason and expressed his issues with his lack of playing time; the team is also facing several potential departures in unrestricted free agency, such as Ersan Ilyasova, Kris Humphries and Mike Muscala. While those decisions will shape the 2017/18 Hawks, the club will look to attain the strongest asset in the NBA draft before worrying about anything else.

Below are notes from around the Southeast Division:

Draft Notes: Monk, Kennard, Green Room Invitations

The Knicksworkout with Kentucky’s Malik Monk this week will be private, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Projected as a high to mid-lottery pick, Monk has already worked out for the Suns, who own the fourth selection, and Magic, who have No. 6. New York’s front office is giving serious consideration to Monk at No. 8, along with French point guard Frank Ntilikina and North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith, Begley notes. Smith had a session scheduled with the Knicks this week, but wound up having dinner with team president Phil Jackson and didn’t participate in a workout.

There’s more draft news as June 22nd approaches:

  • Shooting specialist Luke Kennard of Duke also has a private workout scheduled for the Knicks, Begley adds in the same piece. Kennard may have pushed himself into the top 12 with his performance in pre-draft workouts, including CAA’s event last weekend in Los Angeles, according to Begley, who adds that the Knicks would like to trade for another first-rounder and may be targeting Kennard if that happens. New York has discussed a deal with the Trail Blazers, who hold picks 15, 20 and 26. The Pistons have expressed a willingness to swap the 12th selection for veteran help, and Begley believes the Knicks have reached out to them.
  • Kennard is part of a high-profile group to work out for the Pistons today, tweets Keith Langlois of MLive. He is joined by Duke’s Harry Giles, Wake Forest’s John Collins and Kentucky’s Isaac Humphries. Teams are permitted to bring in up to six players at a time, but Detroit is having difficulty getting players to visit because it doesn’t own a second-round pick (Twitter link). Kennard told reporters he has upcoming sessions with the Magic, Knicks, Mavericks and Hornets, who all pick before the Pistons. (Twitter link).
  • Ntilikina, Collins and Jarrett Allen of Texas have been added to the list of green room invites for draft night, according to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. That brings the total to 13, with more invitations to be extended Monday.
  • Creighton’s Justin Patton held his first pre-draft workout this week for the Trail Blazers, tweets Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. He also plans to visit the Nuggets, Pistons, Hornets, Heat and maybe the Thunder.
  • Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig will work out for the Clippers Monday, Begley posts on ESPN Now. He has a session later in the week with the Rockets.
  • Georgetown’s L.J. Peak had a workout with the Sixers this week, tweets Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly. He has future sessions set up with the Hawks, Nets, Knicks, Celtics, Spurs, Wizards and Suns.
  • Vanderbilt’s Luke Kornet worked out for the Knicks this week, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. He also had workouts for the Kings, Celtics, Suns and Jazz.
  • Indiana’s James Blackmon Jr. has worked out for the Pistons, Kings, Wizards, Magic and Rockets, with more on the schedule, tweets Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype.

Heat Rumors: Hayward, Collins, Teodosic, Winslow

An ESPN report on Friday morning suggested that the Jazz view the Heat as a serious threat in this summer’s Gordon Hayward sweepstakes, and according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, that fear isn’t unfounded. Jackson hears from a source connected to Hayward that the Utah forward has “legitimate interest” in Miami.

Within Jackson’s latest dispatch on the Heat, there’s also word that the team will bring in former Wake Forest power forward John Collins for a pre-draft workout next Wednesday. Collins ranks 20th on DraftExpress’ big board, but has a chance to be selected in the lottery, meaning he could be an option for Miami at No. 14.

Here are a few more Heat-related items worth passing along:

  • The Heat are expected to be one of the teams with interest in Euroleague star Milos Teodosic this offseason, according to a report out of Russia (passed along by NetsDaily.com). The report also identifies Brooklyn and Sacramento as probable suitors for the CSKA Moscow point guard, though those teams have been mentioned previously — Miami’s potential interest is new.
  • Joe Beguiristain of Heat.com provides an update on Justise Winslow‘s recovery from shoulder surgery today, passing along recent comments made by Winslow: “The shoulder is doing well. Five months down, one more to go as far as the six-month process. But I feel great. I got all my range of motion. We’re just trying to get it strong enough that it can endure contact and falls.”
  • While some teams may stretch out their rebuilds in order to avoid battling the Warriors head-on within the next year or two, don’t expect Pat Riley to take that approach with the Heat, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Winderman’s recent Ask Ira series for The Sun Sentinel also includes a discussion on whether it makes sense for Miami to pay big bucks for both Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson.

Northwest Notes: Hill, Favors, Workouts

Keeping Gordon Hayward in Utah is the top priority for the Jazz this offseason, but re-signing him alone isn’t going to help the team climb in the Western Conference standings, Benjamin Mehic of the Deseret News writes.

The team must also shore up its point guard position. George Hill will be a free agent this summer and the team will have trouble finding a top-notch point guard replacement should he bolt. Hill has expressed a desire to return, as Dana Gauruder of Hoops Rumors mentioned in the team’s offseason preview. However, many players say flattering things about their current team as they head into free agency only to leave for another club.

If Hill is lured away, the most likely option for the Jazz is promoting Dante Exum to the starting unit, though that could hurt the team in the win column since Exum hasn’t quite proven himself in the league yet.

Here’s more from the Northwest:

Pistons Notes: Downtown Move, Kennard, FA Workouts

The Detroit City Council voted on Tuesday in favor of several key agreements related to the Pistons’ move downtown, as Christine Ferretti and Jennifer Chambers of The Detroit News report. However, while Tuesday’s votes finalized approvals for the Pistons’ new practice facility and headquarters, there are more roadblocks that will need to be cleared before the club’s move to the Little Caesars arena is fully approved.

On June 20, the Detroit city council is scheduled to vote on the issuance of $34.5MM in proposed taxpayer-funded DDA bonds. Shortly after Tuesday’s city council session took place though, a federal judge granted a June 19 lawsuit that seeks to halt that June 20 vote, per Louis Aguilar of The Detroit News. As Aguilar explains, that lawsuit seeks to allow Detroit and Wayne County residents to vote on whether taxpayer money should be put toward the new arena and team facilities.

As the Pistons wait for resolution to the legal battle over their potential new arena, here are a few more items related to the team:

Northwest Notes: Kanter, Rubio, Nuggets, Jazz, Blazers

Enes Kanter remains hopeful that he will be able to reunite with his family in the United States someday, reports Erik Horne of NewsOK.com. Currently, Kanter’s father sits in a Turkey jail, awaiting interrogation on Monday. Two and a half weeks ago, the Thunder big man’s passport was canceled by the Turkish government and he could not gain access to Romania. Homeland Security, a team of lawyers, and the NBA teamed up to arrange his speedy return to the United States, but now Kanter’s father is in trouble. Kanter’s mother, younger sister, and brother also currently remain in Turkey.

“If you’re a kid, woman or child, if you’re speaking out against them, they’ll arrest you,” Kanter said.

Here’s more from the Northwest division:

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