Jonathan Isaac

Southeast Rumors: Monk, Heat, Simmons, Isaac

Malik Monk‘s spotty minutes in recent games is due to Michael Carter-Williams defensive ability and not some sort of punishment for the first-round pick, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. The Hornets have played much better defensively with Carter-Williams in the rotation and Monk became the odd man out, Bonnell continues. Monk is still learning to play point guard after being a shooting guard in college and has plenty of work to do defensively, Bonnell adds.

In other developments around the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat may have invested too much on complementary pieces, Ira Winderman of the Florida Sun Sentinel opines. It’s fair to question whether the club would be better off now and into the future by spending on top players rather than doling out large contracts to players such as Josh RichardsonTyler Johnson, James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk, Winderman adds.
  • Magic coach Frank Vogel made his first non-injury related change to the starting lineup Monday, inserting swingman Jonathon Simmons in place of Terrence Ross, John Denton of the Magic’s website reports. Vogel wants to give Simmons more playing time and Ross has spent most of his career coming off the bench, Denton notes. “Terrence and I have been in conversations about him maybe being more involved when coming off the bench and with Simmons, we’d like to see what we look like with him having a bigger role,’’ Vogel said.
  • Magic rookie power forward Jonathan Isaac could return as early as Wednesday from the ankle sprain he suffered on November 11th, Denton notes in a separate story. The lottery pick missed his eighth consecutive game on Monday. “It’s definitely taken longer than I thought it would,” Isaac told Denton.

Southeast Notes: Isaac, Vogel, Olynyk, Monk

Magic forward Jonathan Isaac is missing his fifth straight game tonight with a sprained ankle, but the team hopes to have him back by the end of its current road trip, writes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. The sixth player take in this year’s draft, Isaac has averaged 6.1 points and 4.4 rebounds in his first 12 NBA games. At 6’10”, he is tall and versatile enough to defend several positions.

“You hate to say you’re missing a 20-year-old rookie, but we are,” Magic coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s a dynamic player, especially on the defensive end, and he’s missed. But every single team in the league has got guys out.” Orlando is starting a four-game road trip tonight that will run through Monday.

There’s more news from the Southeast Division:

  • Vogel considered making a lineup change, but decided to keep the same starting five for tonight to allow his point guards to get more comfortable in their return from injuries, Robbins adds in the same story. Elfrid Payton and D.J. Augustin both missed time with hamstring problems, with Payton coming back November 13 and Augustin returning Saturday. “[We’re] staying the course right now,” Vogel said. “I think we’re still dealing with not having been at full strength and we’re trying to keep guys in their roles while we try to achieve that.”
  • Pat Riley’s decisions to bring back most of last season’s roster and use future cap room on a small number of players aren’t working out so far, writes Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. Miami is off to a 7-9 start and there are concerns that the current roster doesn’t fit well together. The problems have been particularly acute in the second half of games, where the Heat rank last in the league in scoring, field goal percentage and 3-point shooting. The worst move of the offseason appears to be the four-year, $50 million deal for Kelly Olynyk, who at 18.4 minutes per game is playing less than in any of his four seasons in Boston.
  • Hornets coach Steve Clifford believes the lack of a team “identity” contributed to a recent six-game losing streak, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Charlotte snapped that slide Saturday as Clifford juggled the rotation, which included benching rookie guard Malik Monk for the first time this season. “You lose six in a row and the defense has been bad,” Clifford explained. “It’s not Malik’s fault, it’s just his position; [Michael Carter-Williams is] a difference-maker defensively.”

Southeast Notes: Isaac, Porter Jr., Richardson

The Magic have been hard at work gaining insights about their roster this preseason and have already come up with a five-man group that they’re fond of. John Denton of the Magic’s official site writes that Frank Vogel particularly enjoyed playing Elfrid Payton alongside Jonathon Simmons at the two with Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon at the three and four, respectively, with Bismack Biyombo at center.

That’s scary for other teams because there is a lot of athleticism out there and a lot of guys who can guard point guard through power forward,” Payton, entering his fourth year with the Magic, said. “There’s so much speed and athleticism there. Even though we’d be seen as a small unit, Jonathon [Simmons] is athletic, Isaac is athletic, A.G. is athletic and I don’t think we’d lose anything on the rebounding end. I look forward to seeing that [lineup] more.

The scribe also notes that Isaac, while famously raw as a 20-year-old, 210-pound forward, could still be utilized as a defensive specialist for the Magic in his first year in the pros. “He’s NBA-ready to come in and impact our team on the defensive end right now,” Vogel said.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

Southeast Notes: Porter, Bogdanovic, Isaac, Bosh

The Kings’ decision to use a major part of their cap space on George Hill and Zach Randolph leaves the Nets as the most significant threat for Wizards RFA Otto Porter, tweets David Aldridge of TNT. Porter met with the Kings on Sunday and reportedly received a max offer, but didn’t sign it, wanting to talk to other teams first. Sacramento’s moves today means it no longer has room for a max deal unless it unloads some other salary. The Wizards can match any offer sheet that Porter brings to them, and have stated that they plan to do so.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards plan to explore sign-and-trade options for Bojan Bogdanovic, according to J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. Bogdanovic appears to be on the way out after this week’s deals with Jodie Meeks and Mike Scott, but Washington won’t revoke his $4.7MM qualifying offer, hoping to deal him and create a traded player exception. Bogdanovic is reportedly seeking about $16MM per year, which seems unrealistic. Michael notes that the Wizards have made use of TPEs in the recent years, picking up Jared Dudley, Kris Humphries and Tim Frazier.
  • The Magic will hold first-round pick Jonathan Isaac out of the final two games of the Orlando Pro Summer League after he suffered a hip strain Monday, relays John Denton of NBA.com. Tests didn’t reveal any structural damage and the injury isn’t considered serious, but the Magic are keeping him sidelined as a precaution.
  • In a move to free up cap space, the Magic have reached an agreement with 2005 first-rounder Fran Vazquez that he won’t play in the NBA this season, tweets Keith Smith of Real GM. Orlando still owns the rights for the 34-year-old, and the move takes away his cap hold for the upcoming season.
  • The Heat are expected to end their seven-year relationship with Chris Bosh this week, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami will erase Bosh’s $52.1MM from its cap under a medical retirement in the wake of recurring blood clots. Bosh must be given 48 hours to clear waivers before the move becomes official, and it will push the Heat’s cap space from $9MM to more than $34MM this year.

Magic Sign First Round Pick Jonathan Isaac

The Magic announced today that the club has signed first-round pick Jonathan Isaac. According to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft is set to make $4,186,320 next season, which is 120% rookie-scale contract figure. As our chart of rookie scale salaries shows, Isaac’s rookie deal will be a four-year pact worth $22,324,406.

Isaac’s salary for the first two seasons will be guaranteed and after two team options for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons, he’ll be eligible to reach restricted free agency in 2021 barring an extension.

Earlier today, the Heat agreed to terms with first-rounder Bam Adebayo. As we noted in that story, with cap holds on unsigned first-rounders at 120% rather than 100% under the new CBA, teams will likely sign their picks sooner rather than later.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Adebayo, Satoransky

While he may be years away from reaching his true potential, the Magic are pleased with their Jonathan Isaac pickup in Thursday’s draft, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel writes.

In order to fully develop the sixth-overall choice, however, Orlando’s new front office will need to avoid some of the mistakes that their predecessors made, namely giving prospects playing time before they earn it.

Robbins adds that president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman and general manager John Hammond should look to add quality players that will be able to compete with Isaac for minutes, something current and past Magic players like Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris and Elfrid Payton could have benefited from over the course of the last few seasons.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • A particularly impressive workout helped Bam Adebayo convince the Heat to take a chance on him with their 14th pick in Thursday’s draft, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes. “We had already seen enough after 20 minutes. But he wanted to stay out there. He was the last one in the gym. We notice things like that,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said.
  • The Magic would be wise to mind the tone of their fan base and field a decent roster as soon as possible, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel writes. While a new front office may be just embarking on a five-year tenure with the organization, fans of the franchise have already endured five years of losing seasons.
  • On the surface, the Wizards trading for a backup point guard would appear to hurt Tomas Satoransky‘s stock with the franchise but Tim Frazier is a short-term solution, Chase Huges of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes. Satoransky remains the only guard on Washington’s bench signed past 2018/19.
  • In a podcast with Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype, Wizards point guard John Wall that he’s like to remain with Washington for the rest of his career. The eight-year veteran and All-NBA Third Team guard also says that he still feels as though he’s underrated.

Celtics Rumors: No. 3 Pick, Tatum, Isaac, Smith

With just over 24 hours until the NBA draft gets underway, one NBA executive tells Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that the Celtics may be looking into the possibility of moving down in the draft again. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer tweets that he has heard the same thing.

Per Bulpett, most sources still believe that the Celtics’ decision will come down to Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum, but it doesn’t appear Boston is necessarily locked in on one specific player at No. 3. Jonathan Isaac has even “crept into the speculation,” according to Bulpett, who adds that another exec believes the C’s would like to find a way to end up with point guard Dennis Smith Jr. — that scenario would almost certainly involve a trade down.

Here’s more out of Boston:

  • A coach from one NBA franchise tells Bulpett that if you asked 10 different teams which player Danny Ainge wants in this draft, you might get 10 different answers. “We call him the minister of disinformation,” the coach said of Ainge. “He’s putting a lot of stuff out there.”
  • Rumblings on Wednesday have indicated the Celtics may be leaning more toward Tatum than Jackson with the third overall pick. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress appears to be on board that bandwagon — his latest mock draft for The Vertical has Boston selecting Tatum at No. 3, though he acknowledges Jackson is also in the conversation.
  • The NBA’s rumor mill appears to be more active this year than it usually is prior to the draft, and the Celtics – loaded with assets of all sorts – are at the eye of the storm, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.

Draft Notes: Mitchell, Jackson, Tatum, Ferguson

Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell will hold a last-minute workout for the Knicks today, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now. The sophomore out of Louisville, whose session was originally scheduled for Tuesday, is being considered with the No 8 pick, Begley adds, along with French point guard Frank Ntilikina, Kentucky guard Malik Monk, Arizona big man Lauri Markkanen and others. Team president Phil Jackson is intrigued by Mitchell’s defensive prowess and athleticism and likes the fact that he prefers to work out in a group setting to showcase his defense. Joining Mitchell today will be Villanova’s Josh Hart, Miami’s Davon Reed, Iowa State’s Naz Long and others.

There’s more draft news on the eve of the big event:

  • The Celtics have received Josh Jackson‘s medical records, but the Kansas forward still refuses to work out for the team, tweets Chad Ford of ESPN.com. Boston appears to be leaning toward Duke’s Jayson Tatum with the No. 3 pick, Ford states, but no decision has been made.
  • Ford still has Jackson as the third selection in his latest mock draft, which was released today. Markelle Fultz remains No. 1, followed by Lonzo Ball, with the rest of the top 10 as Tatum, Jonathan Isaac, De’Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith Jr., Monk, Zach Collins and Markkanen.
  • Terrance Ferguson recently pulled out of workouts with the Pistons, Hawks and Bucks, tweets Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated. It’s possible that Ferguson received a draft promise from the Nuggets or Nets or he may have been responding to poor workouts (Twitter link).
  • A 7-footer with a soft shooting touch, Markkanen is drawing comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki, writes Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. Some scouts believe the 20-year-old Finnish star is the best 3-point shooter in the draft. “It’s probably not fair to him to have some young guy compared to a Hall of Fame player and champion,” Markkanen said of Nowitzki. “We have similarities because of the height, being from Europe and shooting. But I have a long way to go before I’m in the same category as him. Hopefully, I can get there one day.”
  • The Wizards will work out six players today, the team announced on its website. They are French center Alpha Kaba, Cincinnati’s Troy Caupain Jr., VCU’s JeQuan Lewis, Eastern Michigan’s Jalen Ross, Niagara’s Tahjere McCall and East Tennessee State’s Hanner Mosquera-Perea.

Ford’s Latest: Lakers, Suns, Kings, Magic, Mavs

Sources in Los Angeles say that the Lakers have been “moving closer and closer” in recent days to making Lonzo Ball their man at No. 2, ESPN’s Chad Ford writes in his latest mock draft (Insider-only link). However, the Suns also have legitimate interest in Ball, and have had conversations with both the Lakers and Celtics about trading up, says Ford. Phoenix has interest in Josh Jackson too, but if both Jackson and Ball come off the board in the top three and the Suns don’t move up, Ford expects Jayson Tatum to be the team’s choice.

Here are several more interesting tidbits from Ford’s latest mock:

  • The Kings have explored moving up to No. 2 or No. 3, with De’Aaron Fox as their target. Ford’s mock suggests Sacramento will have a chance to nab Fox with the No. 5 pick though.
  • The Magic have shown “serious interest” in Jayson Tatum, but Ford thinks he’ll be off the board at No. 6, and has Orlando picking Jonathan Isaac instead.
  • The Knicks and Mavericks both appear to be very high on French point guard Frank Ntilikina. Ford says not to be surprised if Dallas attempts to leapfrog New York by trading up to No. 6 or No. 7 to secure Ntilikina.
  • Ford’s newest mock forecasts a potential fall out of the top 10 for Malik Monk. ESPN’s draft guru suggests that if Monk makes it past the Timberwolves and Knicks, he could slip to the Hornets at No. 11.
  • There has been “a lot of buzz” about the possibility of OG Anunoby landing with the Nuggets, Ford writes. The injured Indiana forward is receiving interest as high as No. 10 (Kings), but Denver would be a good fit, since the Nuggets wouldn’t need him to play right away.
  • The Trail Blazers, who hold three first-round picks, continue to shop around No. 20, per Ford.

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.”
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