Justin Simon

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…

P.J. Washington, Grant Williams, Others Entering 2019 Draft

Kentucky forward P.J. Washington has opted to enter the 2019 NBA draft and will hire an agent, according to a press release from the program. Washington, who considered going pro after his freshman year, returned to the Wildcats for his sophomore season and had a strong year. Now, he plans to keep his name in the draft pool, forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility.

“When I decided to come back to school a year ago, I knew there were things I still wanted to accomplish so I challenged myself to become a better all-around player, to develop more consistency and to become a leader for this team,” Washington said in a statement. “Although we fell a couple games short of our ultimate goal, I’ll never forget the season we had with my brothers. We did some special things this season and made memories that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.”

Washington increased his numbers across the board in his second year at Kentucky, averaging 15.2 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 1.2 BPG on .522/.423/.663 shooting. He’s currently ranked 15th on ESPN’s big board, with Jonathan Givony praising his “enviable physical tools.”

Here are more updates on players declaring for the 2019 NBA draft:

  • Another one of the top 25 players on Givony’s board – Tennessee junior forward Grant Williams – has announced his intention to test the draft waters. Williams, the No. 24 prospect per ESPN, averaged 18.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 3.2 APG for the Vols. He indicated that he’ll go through the pre-draft process, leaving the door open to return for his senior season.
  • Florida State’s Mfiondu Kabengele is entering the draft and intends to keep his name in this year’s pool, he tells Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com. “My decision is I’m going to put my name in the draft this year,” the sophomore center said. “Just because of the season I had, the growth, I feel like I did as much as I could at Florida State. I learned a lot. My next challenge is going to be to expand my game.” Kabengele is the No. 30 prospect on ESPN’s top 100.
  • Three Michigan underclassmen on ESPN’s big board – freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis (No. 48), sophomore guard Jordan Poole (No. 68), and junior guard Charles Matthews (No. 69) – will go through the draft process, the school announced today in a press release. All three players will hire agents, though they’ll still have until May 29 to withdraw if they so choose.
  • Auburn junior guard Jared Harper is leaving school and declaring for the 2019 NBA draft, per a press release. “I have always been a believer in Jared,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said of the No. 61 prospect on ESPN’s big board. “He is a special player with speed, quickness, power and a skill level that is unmatched by virtually any player his size. He will make it in the NBA.”
  • Kentucky’s Ashton Hagans, a candidate to be drafted this year, will instead return to the Wildcats for his sophomore season, he confirmed today. As ESPN’s Jonathan Givony tweets, Hagans will focus on improving his shooting and play-making in his second season at Kentucky.
  • Here are a few more early entrants who don’t rank in ESPN’s top 100, but who are entering the draft: