Jon Davis

Eastern Draft Notes: Culver, Wizards, King, Sixers

According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, the Cavaliers, who hold the No. 5 overall pick in the upcoming 2019 NBA Draft, conducted a private workout with top prospect Jarrett Culver on Monday before hosting him for dinner with general manager Koby Altman, assistant GM Mike Gansey, head coach John Beilein, and assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

As Fedor details, the Cavaliers have been keeping tabs on Culver throughout the entire season, watching him in person multiple times. In addition, both Altman and Gansey were  in attendance for Culver’s 22-point game against Michigan in the Sweet 16. Beilein, of course, coached the Wolverines in that game.

The Cavaliers are still hoping to conduct a workout with De’Andre Hunter as well, but it reportedly hasn’t happened yet. Culver is currently the No. 6 ranked prospect in ESPN’s top 100, while Hunter is No. 5, so both are obviously in consideration for the fifth pick.

The No. 7 overall prospect, forward Cam Reddish, won’t work out with the Cavaliers due to recent surgery on a core muscle, but the Cavs would like to meet with him in person again prior to draft night.

There’s more draft notes tonight from around the Eastern Conference.

Eastern Notes: Leonard, Pistons, VanVleet, Hornets, Wizards

Despite a report from last week that Kawhi Leonard bought a house in Toronto, Leonard denied the story on Saturday in front of reporters, according to a Canadian Press report (via The Toronto Star).

Raptors fans were optimistic that this could be a clue of Leonard’s upcoming free agency decision, with the 2014 Finals MVP scheduled to become a free agent on June 30, one day after his 28th birthday. He’ll likely register interest from several suitors outside of Toronto, including his hometown teams in Los Angeles.

“No, it didn’t. It didn’t happen yet, no,” Leonard said of the report.

Leonard has guided the Raptors through the Eastern Conference and out to a 3-1 series lead over the Warriors, averaging a playoff career-high 31.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 22 postseason games.

The Raptors have a chance to win their first ever NBA championship on Monday night, a pivotal game for a franchise hoping to persuade Leonard to re-sign on a lucrative free-agent contract this summer.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference tonight:

Pacific Notes: Barnes, Suns, Rajakovic, Kings

Harrison Barnes can hit the open market if he turns down his $25.1MM player option and the Kings would like to have him on the roster next season one way or another. If Barnes stays with Sacramento, it could be an indicator that the organization is on the upswing after years of perceived dysfunction, Jason Jones of The Athletic writes.

Kings’ management envisioned Barnes playing the small forward position when they traded for him at last season’s deadline. Dave Joerger had different plans, playing Barnes heavy minutes at the four spot next to Bogdan Bogdanovic at the three. Barnes at power forward also took time away from Marvin Bagley and made it more difficult for the rookie to rise to the starting lineup. Joerger has since been fired.

The Kings are hoping that their switch to Luke Walton as well as a renewed alignment between the coaching staff and front office will be viewed favorably around the league, particularly with agents. Here’s more from around the Kings and the Pacific Division:

And-Ones: Pelicans, Draft, Hornets

New Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon said leaving Brooklyn was a “very difficult decision” for him and his family, as he told Hoops Rumors and other outlets during his introductory press conference call earlier today. However, the chance to team up with head of basketball operations David Griffin again was too great to pass up.

“The opportunity to join up with Griff again and do something special in a place that nobody believes it can be done — aside from the people in this organization and the city — is something that is very intriguing,” Langdon said.

[RELATED: David Griffin Plans To Meet With Anthony Davis In Los Angeles]

Langdon will serve under Griffin, but his roles and responsibilities are not yet fully defined. The two men previously worked together in Cleveland and are familiar with one another, with Langdon emphasizing during today’s conference call that Griffin is not a micromanager. Griffin said that their relationship allows them “to challenge each other in ways strangers may not be able to.”

Langdon aided the Nets‘ turnaround, helping the franchise rebuild, and was key in helping to build talent in Brooklyn’s G League team. The Pelicans will put out a G League squad for the first time in franchise history next season.

Here’s more from around the league:

Withdrawal Deadline Looms For NCAA Early Entrants

NCAA early entrants in the 2018 NBA draft have until the end of the day on Wednesday, May 30 to make a decision on whether or not to keep their names in this year’s draft pool.

While the NBA’s deadline for draft withdrawals is on June 11, the NCAA has its own deadline. A college player who withdraws from the draft between May 31 and June 11 would become draft-eligible in a future year, but would be ineligible to return to his NCAA team next season. As such, the NBA’s June 11 deadline is generally only worth watching for international early entrants.

A record-setting 236 early entrants declared for the 2018 NBA draft, but many of those prospects were simply testing the draft waters without an agent and have since announced their intent to return to college for at least one more year.

We’ve been making an effort to keep tabs on all the latest early entrants news right here. As our list shows, a number of notable prospects still have decisions to make today. Kevin Huerter (Maryland), Tyus Battle (Syracuse), Jontay Porter (Missouri), PJ Washington (Kentucky), Omari Spellman (Villanova), Jarred Vanderbilt (Kentucky), Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State), Caleb Martin (Nevada), and Cody Martin (Nevada) are among the highly-regarded prospects who have yet to announce their intent one way or the other.

A few of the latest early entrant draft withdrawals are noted below. These players won’t go pro yet, opting instead to continue their respective college careers:

Hornets Rumors: Walker, Quinter, Whiteside, Workouts

A lottery pick and a young player would be a reasonable return in any trade involving Kemba Walker, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. In consultation with ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Bonnell takes an in-depth look into the possibility of trading Walker, who has a year remaining on his contract. All-Star caliber point guards are highly valued but any suitor would want to feel they could re-sign Walker. The Hornets could package a bad contract with Walker but only if he committed to re-signing with his new team, Bonnell adds.

In other developments involving the Hornets:

  • The Hornets have parted ways with director of pro personnel Todd Quinter, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Changes are being made in the Charlotte organization with recently-hired Mitch Kupchak running the front office. Quinter is one of the league’s most seasoned scouts, Stein notes.
  • It wouldn’t make sense for the Hornets to pursue Heat center Hassan Whiteside in a trade, Bonnell opines in a separate story. The Hornets already have an older version of Whiteside in Dwight Howard and don’t need to saddle their payroll by adding Whiteside’s contract, which has two years and $52.4MM remaining, Bonnell continues. The Hornets would be better off moving forward next summer after Howard’s contract expires, Bonnel adds.
  • Charlotte is bringing in six draft prospects on Friday: Guards Connor Burchfield (William & Mary), Jon Davis (Charlotte), Lexus Williams (Boise State) and Ray Ona Embo (Tulane); forward Marcanvis Hymon (Ole Miss); and center Bakary Konate (Minnesota).

Draft Notes: Spalding, Davis, Wigginton, Colson

Louisville power forward Ray Spalding will enter the 2018 NBA draft, as Jody Demling of 247Sports.com details. However, Spalding – a junior – won’t necessarily forfeit his final year of NCAA eligibility. He’ll hold off on hiring an agent for now before deciding whether to go pro or to return to Louisville for one more season.

“I didn’t get to test the waters last year, but I will be testing the waters this year,” said Spalding, who ranks 58th on Jonathan Givony’s big board at ESPN.com. “I want to see where I fit. There’s nothing to lose doing that.”

Here are a few more draft-related notes, including more updates on prospects deciding to test the waters in 2018:

  • Charlotte guard Jon Davis will declare for the 2018 NBA draft without hiring an agent, a source close to the situation tells Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports. Davis averaged 17.6 PPG, 5.5 APG, and 3.8 RPG in his junior year, though he struggled a little with his shot (.392 FG%).
  • Iowa State guard Lindell Wigginton will test the draft waters for 2018 without hiring an agent, his father tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Wigginton, who averaged 16.7 PPG in his freshman year, is a strong candidate to receive an invite to the NBA combine, according to Givony.
  • Wofford junior Fletcher Magee announced (via Twitter) that he’ll declare for the 2018 draft without hiring an agent and losing his NCAA eligibility. The 6’4″ guard increased his scoring average to 22.1 PPG in 2017/18, with an impressive shooting line of .484/.439/.907.
  • Notre Dame senior Bonzie Colson, viewed as a potential second-round pick, suffered a fractured left foot during Saturday’s loss to Penn State, sources tell Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. While Colson is expected to be healthy for predraft workouts, it’s the second time he has fractured that foot, so NBA teams figure to keep a close eye on his recovery.