Johnathan Motley

Mavericks Will Sign Motley To Two-Way Contract

Power forward Johnathan Motley of Baylor has agreed to a two-way contract with the Mavericks, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical.

The two-way deal, a feature of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, permits teams to keep two extra players under their control, even if they aren’t on the active roster. They will receive what amount to G League contracts, but the salaries will be higher than what G League players typically get, and no other other team can sign them. See here for more information on two-way contracts.

Motley, 22, averaged 17.2 points and 9.9 rebounds in 33 games during his junior season with the Bears. He was projected as the 42nd pick in the final mock draft by DraftExpress and 47th by Chad Ford of ESPN.com, but a knee injury made teams reluctant to take him, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News.

Motley’s contract cannot be finalized until the NBA’s new year begins July 1st.

Southwest Notes: Morey, Rockets, Noel, Ferrell, Mavericks

Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who recently signed a four-year extension, continues to work on large-scale moves after a quiet draft, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. On draft night, the Rockets had just one second-round pick and used it on Isaiah Hartenstein, who will remain overseas next season, Feigen tweets. The Rockets also traded their second-round pick, Dillon Brooks, to the Grizzlies for a second-round pick next season. Morey discussed his approach:

“We were very focused on two things, to get someone who can help us now and in the future. The second, we did a lot of potential discussions with teams that advanced a little bit today. Obviously, we’re focused on the team now, focused on chasing Golden State. Anything we can push in the future to help us upgrade the team, potentially through trade, we’re ready to do.”

The Rockets were discussing Paul George with the Pacers on Thursday and continue to do so, but nothing was considered close on draft day, per Feigen. The team was simultaneously having conversations directed at making cap room available if they needed it for an expensive free agent addition. Morey stated that the team was considering some deals to move into the first round of the draft, but the Rockets prioritized saving cap space to pursue big trades.

What else is going on in the Southwest division?:

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:

Draft Notes: Briscoe, Fox, Ferguson, Artis

Kentucky guard Isaiah Briscoe had to cancel his remaining workouts because of an ankle injury, according to Adam Zagoria of FanRagSports. The scheduled sessions were with the Lakers, Kings, Bucks and Pacers. Briscoe had reportedly been impressive in workouts with the Knicks, Sixers and a few other teams. DraftExpress lists Briscoe 71st in its list of top 100 prospects.

There’s more draft-related news as the clock winds down toward Thursday:

  • De’Aaron Fox, Briscoe’s backcourt partner at Kentucky, is intrigued by the prospect of joining former Wildcats Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker in Phoenix, writes Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated. The Suns hold the No. 4 pick, but seem unlikely to take another guard unless they make a trade to clear out their already overcrowded backcourt. Fox, who is considered a top five pick, sees the Lakers at No. 2 as another possibility. “I’ve heard they’re trying to move D’Angelo [Russell] to the 2,” he says. “Even if he does play point, I feel like we could play together. A lot of teams play two point guards anyway.” Fox touches on several other subjects, including his rivalry with UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, in a wide-ranging piece.
  • Regardless of the order, the first five picks in the draft appear to be set, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Turner talked to several league executives and found a consensus. After Washington’s Markelle Fultz is taken at No. 1, Ball, Fox, Kansas’ Josh Jackson and Duke’s Jayson Tatum will round out the top five. However, some believe Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac has a shot at being the fifth pick.
  • Terrance Ferguson, who is projected as the Nets‘ pick at No. 27 in the latest mock drafts from DraftExpress and Chad Ford of ESPN.com, will work out for Brooklyn today, according to NetsDaily.com (Twitter link).
  • Pitt’s Jamel Artis has scheduled workouts today with the Pistons and Monday with the Thunder, tweets Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders.
  • The Jazz held a workout Saturday that could be their last one before the draft, relays Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News. Baylor’s Johnathan Motley was the highest-ranked prospect on hand, joined by Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss, Houston’s Damyean Dotson, North Carolina’s Isaiah Hicks, La Salle’s Jordan Price and Southeast Missouri State’s Antonius Cleveland. “It was great,” Motley said. “Played with a lot of energy, played good defensively and shot the ball well during the workout. I think I did pretty good.”

Draft Notes: Josh Jackson, Fultz, Smith Jr., Heat

Kansas forward Josh Jackson paid a visit to Kings today, but didn’t go through a workout, tweets Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Jackson is expected to be one of the first players selected next week and probably won’t be around for Sacramento’s pick at No. 5. There have been rumors that the Kings would like to move up, but a report today said they aren’t willing to give the Sixers the fifth and 10th picks to get No. 3.

There’s more from a full day of draft workouts:

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:

Workout Notes: Nets, Bulls, Evans, Dorsey

The Nets worked out several prospects today, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Jaron Blossomgame, Devin Robinson, Wesley Iwundu, Damyean Dotson, London Perrantes and Tarik Phillip all participated in drills for Brooklyn.

There’s more news on prospects meeting with teams. Here’s the latest:

Central Rumors: Butler, Garrity, Griffin, Pacers

Jimmy Butler held a meeting with Bulls management on Monday to discuss the team’s direction, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Butler had only met with team officials briefly after the season, the tweet adds. Chicago isn’t looking to move the three-time All-Star swingman but will listen to any offers, Johnson wrote in an earlier story. Butler had been training in Los Angeles and will leave for Europe later in the month to train there, Johnson adds.

In other developments around the Central Division:

  • Pistons assistant GM Pat Garrity interviewed for the Hawks GM position and will soon interview for the Bucks‘ GM opening, according to Tony Paul of the Detroit News. Atlanta chose Warriors executive Travis Schlenk. Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy confirmed to Paul that Garrity will interview for the job formerly held by new Magic GM John Hammond.
  • There are several more hurdles to clear before the Pistons can move into a new downtown arena next season, the Detroit Free Press reports. The Detroit City Council on Tuesday will vote on a package of agreements that would allow the move, while the lease agreement with Little Caesars Arena has not been finalized, the report continues. The league also has to give its final approval. The franchise hopes to have all the elements completed in time for the annual July board of governors meeting in Las Vegas, the report adds.
  • Cavaliers GM David Griffin will seek a significant raise from owner Dan Gilbert, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com reports. Griffin is making less than $2MM annually, according to Vardon’s sources. The two sides have not yet discussed financial terms on a new contract for Griffin, whose current contract expires at the end of the month. The Magic and Hawks were denied permission to interview Griffin for front-office openings and the Bucks appear to be moving away from Griffin in their GM search, Vardon adds.
  • The Pacers will bring in six players for a pre-draft workout on Tuesday, according to the team’s website. That group includes Antonio Blakeney (LSU), Isaac Hamilton (UCLA), Zak Irvin (Michigan), Naz Long (Iowa State), Johnathan Motley (Baylor) and Rashawn Thomas (Texas A&M-CC). It’s a group of second-round hopefuls, headlined by Blakeney, a shooting guard ranked No. 85 by DraftExpress.

Draft Notes: Knicks, J. Jackson, Suns, Lakers

There are a number of potential player/team matches in the top 10 of this year’s draft that might make sense on paper, but should be avoided in reality, according to the staff at The Ringer. Danny Chau identifies De’Aaron Fox as a less than ideal fit for the Sixers, while Jonathan Tjarks makes the case for why the Knicks should steer clear of Dennis Smith Jr.

Other picks to be avoided, in the views of The Ringer’s NBA writers? The Mavericks and Lauri Markkanen; the Kings and Jayson Tatum; and the Magic and Jonathan Isaac.

Here are a few more draft-related items from around the basketball world:

Draft Notes: Smith Jr., Kapita, Motley

Dennis Smith Jr. is drawing interest from several lottery teams, Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog reports. The Knicks, Sixers, Wolves, and Kings have all reached out to the point guard to set up a workout. Smith is projected to be one of the top point guards taken on June 22 with Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony ranking him as the fourth-best player at the position and seventh-best player overall.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

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