Kai Jones

Knicks Trade No. 19 Pick Kai Jones To Hornets

JULY 30: The trade is official, according to a Knicks press release.


JULY 29: The Knicks will send the 19th pick to the Hornets in exchange for a future first-round selection, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Charlotte plans to draft Texas big man Kai Jones, Wojnarowski adds (Twitter link).

The Hornets were originally targeting Jones at No. 11 before Connecticut guard James Bouknight became available, states Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Sources tell Fischer that Jones is one of two prospects who came to Charlotte twice for pre-draft workouts.

The Hornets were searching for centers this offseason, and they’ve filled the position with a pair of trades. Earlier today, they picked up Mason Plumlee from the Pistons in an exchange of draft picks.

New York will receive a heavily protected first-rounder from Charlotte in 2022, tweets Zach Lowe of ESPN, who adds that the protections will decrease over the next three years. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the protections are 1-18 next year, 1-16 in 2023, 1-14 in 2024 and 1-14 in 2025. If not conveyed by then, the pick will become two future second-rounders (Twitter link).

Pacific Notes: Ayton, K. Jones, Lakers, Warriors

Deandre Ayton, fresh off of his first NBA Finals appearance with the Suns, is eligible for a five-year, $168MM max contract that would kick in at the start of the 2022/23 season, and Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic takes a look at what could be next for the big man.

Ayton’s career lows in PPG and APG were a result more of the context of adding Chris Paul and reorganizing the offense, rather than any regression on Ayton’s end, Rankin writes. In fact, Ayton’s growth as a team-first player willing to do whatever it takes for the success of the Suns adds even more appeal for the club as it decides if it will offer him a max deal.

If sacrificing is leading the wins and where we are today, I’ll sacrifice everything, you know what I’m saying,” Ayton said. “Everything (Paul’s) told me has led up to here, so why stop now?

We have more news from the Pacific Division:

Southwest Notes: Rockets, Spurs, Grizzlies, Winslow

Multiple reports and the majority of expert mock drafts have pointed to the Rockets leaning toward G League Ignite wing Jalen Green as their choice with the No. 2 pick in the draft. However, speaking about the draft on Wednesday, general manager Rafael Stone was unwilling to drop any hints about whether that speculation is accurate.

According to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, Stone didn’t even want to commit to the Rockets keeping their current picks (including the 23rd and 24th overall selections) and said he’d rather not make up his mind yet about which player he wants to draft at any of those spots, including No. 2.

“I actually do believe that’s the wrong approach,” the Rockets’ GM said. “I think the right approach is to do the work, work as hard as you can, use every minute, and keep every option open. It’s still not guaranteed that we’re picking (at all) or that we’re picking in that spot. It’s more likely than not. It always is. It’s our job to figure out what possibilities exist.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Kelly Iko and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic discuss what the Rockets will do with their three first-round picks, exploring what sort of trade scenarios might be realistic.
  • In a separate story, Iko reports that the Rockets are expected to continue talking to the Pistons about the No. 1 pick and have received some interest in teams looking to move up to No. 2, but the most likely scenario is that Houston stays put. The club has also fielded “dozens” of calls about the Nos. 23 and 24 picks, Iko adds.
  • Texas big man Kai Jones visited the Spurs earlier this week, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). Jones could be an option for San Antonio at No. 12 in next Thursday’s draft.
  • As the Grizzlies weigh their options in free agency and on the trade market, their decision tree will start with Justise Winslow‘s team option, writes Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian. The club’s decision on that $13MM option will be a major factor in dictating how much cap flexibility Memphis has this offseason. For his part, Herrington would pass on that option.
  • This offseason will be a revealing one for Zach Kleiman and the Grizzlies‘ other top decision-makers, according to Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal, who suggests that decisions on Winslow’s option and a possible rookie scale extension for Jaren Jackson will provide major hints about the team’s direction.

Kings Notes: Holmes, Trade Ambitions, Workouts

Richaun Holmes had a breakout season with the Kings this year, averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, assists and blocks and emerging as one of the better defensive centers in the league. But the 27-year-old is entering unrestricted free agency, and as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes, it may be difficult for the Kings to retain him without freeing up cap space via a trade of Harrison Barnes or Buddy Hield.

Anderson takes a look at some of the options GM Monte McNair could choose from to address the massive hole Holmes’ departure would leave, both in the draft – where the Kings have the ninth overall pick – and in free agency, where cheap but productive veterans such as Nerlens Noel, Daniel Theis, and others could come into play.

Jason Jones of The Athletic has similar concerns, and details why the Kings may want to look at centers Alperen Sengun and Kai Jones in this year’s draft.

We have more from out of Sacramento:

  • The Kings have been reported to be one of the more aggressive suitors for Blazers star Damian Lillard, but even if a deal between the Kings and Blazers doesn’t materialize, McNair may look to get involved from a different angle, Anderson writes. The Kings have also been linked to Sixers point guard Ben Simmons, and are generally expected to be aggressive pursuing upgrades this summer. If they don’t believe they’re in a position to land Lillard, they could try to facilitate a deal with the Blazers and Sixers, Anderson writes, in order to land Simmons in a blockbuster three-team trade.
  • The Kings worked out Isaiah Todd and Jaden Springer on Sunday, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. While neither are expected to be in play for the ninth pick, Todd could be available at No. 39 and Springer could be a trade-up candidate. Todd, a gifted shot-creator at 6’10”, could hold interest as a home-run swing in the second round if he’s still on the board.
  • The Kings are also working out potential undrafted free agent targets. Scottie Lewis, a defensive specialist out of Florida and Jose Alvarado, the 2020/21 ACC DPoY worked out on Monday, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic, and Jason Anderson reports that the Kings will work out sharpshooter Marcus Burk on Wednesday.

Southeast Notes: Unseld Jr., Wizards, Hawks, K. Jones

Wes Unseld Jr. put in plenty of time before earning his first chance to be a head coach, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. Unseld, who was formally hired by the Wizards on Saturday after weeks of speculation, was also a finalist for the head coaching vacancy in Orlando.

He comes to Washington from Denver, where he served as associate head coach under Michael Malone. Unseld was in charge of the Nuggets’ defensive schemes and is known for working closely with players, often customizing the approach to make them more comfortable, Katz notes. He has been an NBA assistant for 16 years and spent eight years as an advance scout with the Wizards, where he worked with general manager Tommy Sheppard.

“Becoming a head coach in the NBA is a goal that I have pursued my entire adult life and to have that dream realized by coming full circle back to Washington is truly special,” Unseld said in a press release announcing his hiring. “I look forward to representing the DMV (Washington, D.C., metropolitan area), connecting with our fans and establishing a new standard for Wizards basketball.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

Pacific Notes: Oubre, Kings Workouts, Lakers Workouts, Suns Arena

Warriors free agent wing Kelly Oubre sat down with Stadium’s Shams Charania for an interview on Wednesday to discuss his up-and-down season with in Golden State, as well as his free agency plans.

This season obviously wasn’t my best showing, but at the end of the day, I know what I’m capable of and I think the whole world knows what I’m capable of,” Oubre said.

Oubre, who has never lacked confidence, spoke on why he feels he stands apart from other free agents in this year’s class: “I’m a worker. I wouldn’t always get better and you wouldn’t be able to see improvements in my game somewhere each and every year if I wasn’t working continuously and staying locked in and focused on my craft. I think that puts me at an advantage over a lot of other free agents.

An unrestricted free agent, the 25-year-old will try to find a permanent home after bouncing around from the Wizards to the Sunsto the Warriors over the last few seasons.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

Draft Notes: Top Picks, Barnes, Mitchell, Green Room

With the draft less than two weeks away, more clarity is emerging about the top of the lottery, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. The Pistons are reportedly listening to offers involving the No. 1 selection, but league sources tell O’Connor the most likely scenario is that they will keep the pick and take Cade Cunningham. Even if a trade does happen, teams around the league expect Cunningham to be taken first.

The Rockets are leaning toward Jalen Green with the second pick, sources tell O’Connor. Green’s elite athleticism and ability to create his own shot could eventually make him the best player in the draft, O’Connor adds, and rival teams are preparing for him to go to Houston.

Evan Mobley, who ranks higher than Green on many teams’ draft boards, appears to be a good fit for the Cavaliers at No. 3. They may consider a guard if Collin Sexton is traded by draft night, but Mobley makes sense with the current roster. Jalen Suggs appears headed to the Raptors with the fourth pick and would be a young replacement for Kyle Lowry if he leaves in free agency.

O’Connor cites league sources who believe the Magic like Scottie Barnes with the fifth pick, while the Thunder at No. 6 will decide between James Bouknight and Barnes if he’s still on the board. Jonathan Kuminga, who was considered a top five selection early on, isn’t getting much interest from either Orlando or Oklahoma City, O’Connor adds.

There’s more on the draft:

  • Many scouts and executives believe Barnes will be a top five pick, per Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Sources tell Wassmerman that the Magic are a good bet to take Barnes, but the Thunder will nab him if Orlando passes. Rival teams also believe the Raptors will consider him with the fourth pick if they’re determined to keep Lowry.
  • Baylor point guard Davion Mitchell held an individual workout for the Warriors on Thursday, according to Anthony Slater of The AthleticMoses Moody, Jalen Johnson and Kai Jones also worked out for the team, but they were in a group session that was held after Mitchell’s workout and interview. Slater examines the arguments for and against drafting Mitchell, who is a strong defender and improved greatly as a three-point shooter last season.
  • Kuminga is among the prospects who have received a Green Room invitation for draft night, Wasserman tweets. Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that Jones (Twitter link) and Australian guard Josh Giddey (Twitter link) have also been invited to join the Green Room, which is reserved for prospects who are expected to be chosen early.

Pacific Notes: Warriors Workouts, Lakers, LeBron, CP3

The Warriors, who hold the seventh and 14th overall picks in this year’s draft, are busy this week working out prospects, many of whom could be in play for one of those two lottery picks.

As Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets, Cameron Thomas, Tre Mann, Isaiah Todd, Quentin Grimes, Nah’Shon Hyland, and LJ Figueroa came in for a group workout with the Warriors on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Baylor’s Davion Mitchell is conducting an individual workout with Golden State before Jalen Johnson, Kai Jones, and Moses Moody audition later in the afternoon, according to Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link).

Of those 10 prospects, Mitchell (No. 7), Johnson (12), Moody (16), Jones (20), Mann (22), Thomas (26), Grimes (29), and Hyland (30) are all projected by ESPN to be first-round picks.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

Central Notes: Tucker, Bucks, Pacers, Workouts, Pistons

P.J. Tucker is used to being a part of contending teams, but this season took a detour before he landed in Milwaukee, notes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Tucker had to endure a lot of losing in Houston after the Rockets dealt James Harden in mid-January. He was stuck in a rebuilding situation until the Bucks traded for him in March.

“I thought about the stuff I was doing with Houston this year, this season has just been a long year for me,” Tucker said. “To go from being a top team in the West to falling apart instantly and being the last one left (in Houston) and everything I went through with that, the transition, it was just a lot this season.”

Tucker has enjoyed his time with the Bucks and is looking forward to competing for his first NBA championship, but isn’t sure whether his time in Milwaukee will extend beyond this season, as Nehm writes.

“I’m really excited to be able to pick where I want to go,” Tucker said. “The (contract) extension thing was for a different period of time. We didn’t even talk about that when I came to Milwaukee. There was no extension. I just wanted to come play and get a chance to do what I do and that was it. I just wanted to have a chance.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Full List Of 2021 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed via press release its list of 69 players who have been invited to next week’s draft combine in Chicago and who are expected to attend. The combine will take place from June 21-17.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft will opt to skip the event – most notably, presumed number one pick Cade Cunningham and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs – there are several high-profile prospects set to attend. Evan Mobley, widely considered a likely choice for the No. 2 pick as well as potential top-five picks Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green headline the class of participants this year, along with potential lottery picks Moses Moody, Corey Kispert and Scottie Barnes.

According to the press release, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills throughout the week-long event. It’s likely that the more high-profile names will focus more on the interviews than the drills.

The press release also confirms that a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp will be invited to participate in the Combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 69 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order:

  1. Max Abmas, G, Oral Roberts (sophomore)
  2. Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas (junior)
  3. Marcus Bagley, F, Arizona State (freshman)
  4. Scottie Barnes, F, Florida State (freshman)
  5. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky (junior)
  6. Brandon Boston Jr., G/F, Kentucky (freshman)
  7. James Bouknight, G, UConn (sophomore)
  8. Greg Brown, F, Texas (freshman)
  9. Jared Butler, G, Baylor (junior)
  10. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (sophomore)
  11. Justin Champagnie, G/F, Pittsburgh (sophomore)
  12. Josh Christopher, G, Arizona State (freshman)
  13. Sharife Cooper, G, Auburn (freshman)
  14. Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois (junior)
  15. David Duke, G, Providence (junior)
  16. Kessler Edwards, F, Pepperdine (junior)
  17. Luka Garza, C, Iowa (senior)
  18. RaiQuan Gray, F, Florida State (junior)
  19. Jalen Green, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  20. Quentin Grimes, G, Houston (junior)
  21. Sam Hauser, F, Virginia (senior)
  22. Aaron Henry, G/F, Michigan State (junior)
  23. Ariel Hukporti, C, Lithuania (born 2002)
  24. Matthew Hurt, F, Duke (sophomore)
  25. Nah’Shon Hyland, G, VCU (sophomore)
  26. Isaiah Jackson, F, Kentucky (freshman)
  27. David Johnson, G, Louisville (sophomore)
  28. Jalen Johnson, F, Duke (freshman)
  29. Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  30. Herb Jones, F, Alabama (senior)
  31. Kai Jones, F, Texas (sophomore)
  32. Johnny Juzang, G/F, UCLA (sophomore)
  33. Corey Kispert, F, Gonzaga (senior)
  34. Jonathan Kuminga, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  35. Scottie Lewis, G, Florida (sophomore)
  36. Isaiah Livers, F, Michigan (senior)
  37. Makur Maker, C, Howard (freshman)
  38. Sandro Mamukelashvili, F/C, Seton Hall (senior)
  39. Tre Mann, G, Florida (sophomore)
  40. Matthew Mayer, G/F, Baylor (junior)
  41. Miles McBride, G, West Virginia (sophomore)
  42. Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor (junior)
  43. Evan Mobley, F/C, USC (freshman)
  44. Isaiah Mobley, F, USC (sophomore)
  45. Moses Moody, G, Arkansas (freshman)
  46. Trey Murphy III, G, Virginia (junior)
  47. Daishen Nix, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  48. John Petty Jr., G, Alabama (senior)
  49. Yves Pons, G/F, Tennessee (senior)
  50. Jason Preston, G, Ohio (junior)
  51. Joshua Primo, G, Alabama (freshman)
  52. Roko Prkacin, F, Croatia (born 2002)
  53. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (junior)
  54. Austin Reaves, G, Oklahoma (senior)
  55. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F, Villanova (sophomore)
  56. Terrence Shannon Jr., G/F, Texas Tech (sophomore)
  57. Day’Ron Sharpe, F/C, North Carolina (freshman)
  58. Jericho Sims, F/C, Texas (senior)
  59. Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  60. DJ Steward, G, Duke (freshman)
  61. Cameron Thomas, G, LSU (freshman)
  62. JT Thor, F, Auburn (freshman)
  63. Isaiah Todd, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  64. Trendon Watford, F, LSU (sophomore)
  65. Joe Wieskamp, G/F, Iowa (junior)
  66. Ziaire Williams, F, Stanford (freshman)
  67. McKinley Wright IV, G, Colorado (senior)
  68. Moses Wright, F, Georgia Tech (senior)
  69. Marcus Zegarowski, G, Creighton (junior)