Justin Simon

Heat Notes: Tucker, Hard Cap, Maten, Mourning

The Heat hosted Rayjon Tucker for a three-day audition last week, according to Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. However, no agreement was reached because Tucker is looking for a two-way deal and Miami isn’t willing to offer more than an Exhibit 10 contract, which would have brought him to training camp with a $50K guarantee.

The 6’5″ guard was considered one of the NCAA’s top grad transfers after averaging 20.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game at Arkansas-Little Rock last season. He committed to Memphis in May, but later decided to keep his name in the NBA draft.

Tucker played for the Bucks‘ entry in the Las Vegas Summer League and was reportedly going to sign a partially guaranteed deal with Milwaukee. However, that arrangement fell apart as the Bucks filled both two-way slots with Frank Mason III and Cameron Reynolds.

The Heat recently worked out former St. John’s guard Justin Simon, the authors add, and they believe other players have been given an opportunity as well.

There’s more out of Miami, all courtesy of Jackson and Chiang:

  • The hard cap that was imposed after the sign-and-trade deal involving Jimmy Butler is hampering the Heat’s efforts to sign players, according to a source who has contact with the front office. Miami doesn’t have enough money remaining to give out standard contracts, so it’s trying to convince players to agree to Exhibit 10 deals with an opportunity to earn a two-way slot. The Heat have 17 players under contract, with 12 fully guaranteed, and both two-way openings available. Forwards Chris Silva and Kyle Alexander and guard Jeremiah Martin, all of whom played for Miami’s Summer League team, have already committed to attend camp to compete for a two-way deal.
  • Duncan Robinson empathizes with former teammate Yante Maten, who was waived before his August 1 guarantee date to enable the team to re-sign Udonis Haslem. Robinson and Maten shared an apartment while playing for the organization’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls. “I know how much he has put into this and how much this means to him,” Robinson said. “But at the same time, I know he’s a really good player and an even better person. So he’ll end up in a good opportunity. I know he will because he certainly deserves to.”
  • Trey Mourning, another member of the Heat’s Summer League team, has reached an agreement to play in Russia. He is the son of Heat executive and Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning.

Southeast Notes: Haslem, Kulboka, Simpson, Simon

Heat veteran forward Udonis Haslem, who re-signed with Miami for a 17th season just yesterday, will not commit to this being his final season, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel.

Winderman adds in a separate tweet that Haslem will not treat the 2019/20 season as a farewell tour, but given Haslem’s primary status as a reserve for the Heat, it’s probably too presumptive to conclude from that alone that this won’t be his last season.

Finally, Winderman opines that unless someone like former Heat player Yante Maten ends up flourishing for another team in the near future, the signing of Haslem as a veteran locker room presence is well worth using up the last roster spot.

There’s more news out of the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Hornets draft-and-stash prospect Arnoldas Kulboka, a 21-year-old Lithuanian swingman who was drafted No. 55 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft, has officially signed his contract with RETAbet Bilbao Basket of Liga ACB, reports Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link).
  • Per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports WashingtonWizards point guard John Wall believes that teammate Bradley Beal will sign the three-year, $112MM contract extension being offered by Washington despite the financial reasons for not doing so, as we’ve detailed.
  • The Wizards have officially announced the hiring of Mark Simpson as the team’s new vice president of player performance. Simpson has spent the last three seasons as director of performance for the Clippers, where he oversaw the team’s player load management strategies.
  • Undrafted St. John’s rookie guard Justin Simon recently underwent a workout with the Heat, but left without a contract, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Draft Notes: Bol, Williamson, Hawks, Knicks, Langford

Oregon center Bol Bol has received the last of 20 invites to the draft’s Green Room, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. Bol Bol is ranked No. 15 overall by Givony. The 7’2” freshman appeared in only nine games with the Ducks due to a foot injury but averaged 21.0 PPG, 9.6 RPG and 2.7 BPG.

We have more draft notes:

  • Projected top pick Zion Williamson has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to terminate an agreement he signed with a Florida marketing company, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Williamson signed a marketing deal, which included a clause that it couldn’t be terminated for five years, with Gina Ford and Prime Sports in April. Williamson’s family told the agency two weeks ago that it was terminating the agreement and the agency responded that it would sue for damages in excess of $100MM, Wojnarowski continues. According to Williamson’s suit, the agreement was unlawful under North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agents Act because Prime Sports is not certified by the Players Association or a registered athlete agent in North Carolina or Florida.
  • The Knicks’ workout on Friday included St. John guard Justin Simon and Kansas power forward Dedric Lawson, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. Virginia Tech swingman Ahmed Hill and St. Louis guard Javon Bess also participated in the workout, Zagoria adds.
  • The Pistons, Magic and Hornets are the teams most likely to take first-round prospect and former Indiana swingman Romeo Langford, Dustic Dopirak of The Athletic writes.
  • The Hawks will look at six big men on Saturday according to a team press release. That group includes center Nicolas Claxton (Georgia), Aric Holman (Mississippi State), Mfiondu Kabengele (Florida State) and Naz Reid (LSU) along with Europeans Sekou Doumbouya and Luka Samanic. Langford will also visit with the Hawks on Saturday but will not workout.

Draft Notes: Green Room, Mourning, Simon, Alexander-Walker

Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, R.J. Barrett, Darius Garland, De’Andre Hunter, Jarrett Culver, Coby White, Cam Reddish and Jaxson Hayes were the first nine prospects invited to sit in the Green Room at the NBA draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony tweets. There were no surprises on the list, as the first eight comprise Givony’s top 8 prospects and Hayes is ranked No. 11. The invites reinforce that all nine will be selected in the lottery and probably the top 10. Another 11 invites are expected to be made, Givony adds.

We have more draft news:

  • Trey Mourning has a workout lined up with the Heat, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel tweets. Mourning, son of longtime Heat star Alonzo Mourning, averaged 6.3 PPG for Georgetown last season. The 6’9” forward previously visited the Wizards and Kings, Winderman adds.
  • Guard Justin Simon (St. John’s) will work out for the Thunder on Thursday, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets.
  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Givony’s No. 22 overall prospect, worked out for the Pistons on Friday, Rod Beard of the Detroit News tweets. The combo guard, who averaged 16.2 PPG and 4.0 APG for Virginia Tech last season, has already visited the Hornets and Celtics, Beard adds.
  • Point guard Tremont Waters, Givony’s No. 49 overall prospect, will visit the Pacers and Spurs, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington tweets. Waters will probably not do any on-court work as he’s still rehabbing a right ankle sprain suffered at the NBA combine, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post tweets.

Atlantic Draft Workouts: Sixers, Knicks, Nets

The Sixers will bring some potential late-first round prospects on Saturday, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Tennessee power forward Grant Williams, ranked No. 30 overall by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, and Villanova power forward Eric Paschall (No. 31) will visit, as well as Oregon forward Louis King (No. 51). They’ll be joined by Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech), V.J. King (Louisville) and Phil Booth (Villanova). The Sixers have the No. 24 pick in the first round and three early second-rounders (Nos. 33, 34 and 42).

We have more draft news regarding Atlantic Division teams:

  • The Sixers also worked out six prospects on Friday, Pompey tweets. That group included big man Christ Koumadje (Florida State) and Josh Sharma (Stanford) and guards Adam Mokoka (Serbian League), Zach Norvell Jr. (Gonzaga), Justin Simon (St. John’s) and Bryce Brown (Auburn).
  • Wofford 3-point specialist Fletcher Magee worked out for the Knicks on Friday, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. Louisville’s V.J. King also visited, Ian Begley of SNY TV tweets. St. John’s Justin Simon will also work out for the Knicks next Friday, Zagoria reports in another tweet.
  • Auburn’s Bryce Brown worked out for the Nets on Thursday, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington tweets.

Bulls Notes: Point Guard, Cap Room, Workouts

Finding a solution at point guard and making savvy additions in free agency will be among the Bulls‘ goals this offseason, writes Bobby Marks of ESPN.com (Insider link) in his preview of the team’s summer.

In Marks’ view, there’s a role for Kris Dunn in Chicago, but he’s probably not the long-term solution at point guard, so the club needs to use its No. 7 overall pick or a chunk of its cap space to address the position. Coby White as a possible option at No. 7, according to Marks, who says that if Chicago doesn’t draft a point guard, the club should set aside about $13-14MM of its cap room to try to get one in free agency.

Here’s more on the Bulls:

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:

Draft Notes: Vick, Caroline, Kings

The NBA Draft is less than one month away. As we await the big night, let’s take a look at some workout notes:

Draft Notes: Hornets, Sibande, Cook, Harris

Maryland sophomore forward Bruno Fernando headed a group of six players the Hornets worked out on Sunday. He’s currently listed No. 33 overall on ESPN’s Jonathan Givony list of Top 100 prospects. The other five players who came in, according to a team press release, included guards Shizz Alston Jr. (Temple), Justin Simon (St. John’s) and Keyshawn Woods (Ohio State), forward Lamar Stevens (Penn State) and center Raasean Davis (North Carolina Central).

We have more on the draft:

  • Davis and Nevada forward Trey Porter will work out for the Wizards, Nicola Lupo of Sportando tweets.
  • Miami (Ohio)’s Nike Sibande will return to school, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets. Sibande averaged 16.1 PPG and 5.1 RPG for the RedHawks last season.
  • Iowa big man Tyler Cook will remain in the draft, Jeff Goodman at WatchStadium.com tweets. Cook averaged 14.5 PPG and 7.6 RPG in his junior year.
  • North Carolina A&T shooting guard Terry Harris worked out for the Clippers last week, Chris Broussard of Fox Sports tweets. He’s the younger brother of Tobias Harris.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Hawks, Hornets

There have been no recent updates on the Wizards‘ search for a new head of basketball operations, leading to speculation that Washington is waiting to make a run at current Nuggets president of basketball ops Tim Connelly.

While Connelly’s Nuggets are still alive in the playoffs, David Aldridge of The Athletic argues that if Connelly is the Wizards’ man, they should go after him now. As Aldridge points out, active postseason runs didn’t stop the Timberwolves from hiring Gersson Rosas, or the Suns from naming Monty Williams their new head coach.

It’s not entirely clear if the Wizards are still targeting Connelly, but Aldridge hears from several sources that Denver’s head of basketball ops would be “delighted” to run the Wizards. A previous report referred to the Wizards’ open position as Connelly’s “dream job.” Connelly is still under contract with the Nuggets, but if the Wizards make an offer that significantly exceeds his current salary – which Aldridge says is “just north” of $2MM per year – then he could go to Denver’s ownership in good faith and ask for the opportunity to run his hometown team.

So far, the Wizards have interviewed Danny Ferry, Tommy Sheppard, Troy Weaver, and Rosas for the front office vacancy, Aldridge confirms.

As we wait to see what the Wizards do to replace Ernie Grunfeld, here’s more from around the Southeast…