Kris Wilkes

Knicks Notes: Durant, Wilkes, Draft, Cavanaugh

The Knicks will do their homework on Kevin Durant before committing to a max offer, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. The team will request access to Durant’s medical records and will evaluate his long-term chances for a full recovery from the ruptured Achilles he suffered in the NBA Finals.

New York’s front office recognizes that Durant will be 32 by the time he can play again in 2020/21 and may be dealing with a “load management” situation that will limit both the number of games he can play and his minutes in each one.

Sources tell Berman that the Knicks believe they’re still in the running for Kawhi Leonard, even though he seems more likely to stay in Toronto or go to one of the Los Angeles teams, and Kyrie Irving, who is rumored to be headed to Brooklyn.

There’s more from New York City:

  • After agreeing to sign UCLA forward Kris Wilkes to a two-way contract, GM Scott Perry said the team never expected him to be available, Berman relays in a separate story. Wilkes was projected as a second-round pick after leading the Bruins in scoring at 17.4 points per game. “Kind of surprised (Wilkes) didn’t get drafted, similar to Allonzo Trier last year,’’ Perry said. “Winning player, can score, 6-8, highly rated player coming out of high school. Exciting to add him to our mix and see how we can develop him.”
  • The Knicks were convinced about taking R.J. Barrett with the No. 3 pick, even though they worked out Darius Garland and Coby White shortly before the draft, relays Ian Begley of SNY.TV. Perry explained that the team was taking advantage of having the players in town. “You want to get a chance to see as many prospects as you can,” he said. “Learn more about them, learn their stories. Also further evaluate, you dot your final I’s and crossing the final T’s. So that’s what went into our thinking.”
  • Tyler Cavanaugh, who spent this season on a two-way contract with the Jazz, will join the Knicks’ Summer League team, tweets Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News. The 25-year-old power forward got into just 11 NBA games during the year, spending most of his time in the G League. He played 39 games for the Hawks in 2017/18, starting on a two-way deal before earning a standard contract.

Knicks Agree To Sign Kris Wilkes, Amir Hinton, V.J. King

The Knicks will sign UCLA forward Kris Wilkes to a two-way contract, league sources tell Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The deal can become official after the new league year begins.

Wilkes, who was the 23rd-best prospect to go undrafted on Thursday night, per ESPN’s big board, averaged 17.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 1.7 APG in 33 games during his sophomore season with the Bruins. He has a wingspan of nearly 7’0″ and has potential as a slasher and multi-postional defender, according to ESPN’s scouting report.

Kadeem Allen‘s two-way deal with the Knicks runs for another season, while Isaiah Hicks‘ is expiring, so it appears likely that Wilkes will replace Hicks, though it’s possible the team will turn over both two-way spots.

Meanwhile, the Knicks have also agreed to free agent deals with two more undrafted rookies. Sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links) that Louisville wing V.J. King and Shaw point guard Amir Hinton will sign with the team.

King didn’t play much of a role during his final year at Louisville, averaging just 3.9 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 13.7 minutes per contest, but NBA teams are still intrigued by his potential. As for Hinton, he led all Division II players in 2018/19 with 29.4 points per game and earned CIAA Player of the Year honors. He had hoped to become the first D-II since 2005 to be drafted.

Hinton will get an Exhibit 10 deal from the Knicks, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, who adds (via Twitter) that the Pistons showed a lot of interest in the Division II star. Specific details on King’s agreement aren’t known.

Wolves Notes: Vanterpool, C. White, Doumbouya, Terrell

The Timberwolves hired David Vanterpool as associate coach to improve the defense and motivate Andrew Wiggins, which might be the toughest jobs in the organization, suggests Michael Rand of The Star-Tribune. Team president Gersson Rosas interviewed Vanterpool for the head coaching slot before deciding to stick with Ryan Saunders, so the former Trail Blazers assistant obviously made a good impression.

However, Rand points out that Vanterpool will be taking over a defense that has ranked in the bottom third of the league for the past five seasons and that even defensive specialist Tom Thibodeau couldn’t fix. Vanterpool has a solid relationship with Wiggins from coaching him with Team Canada in 2015, but raising his level of play has been a concern even before the club signed him to an extension two years ago.

There’s more news out of Minnesota:

  • North Carolina guard Coby White held an individual workout for the Wolves Friday, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. White is listed at No. 8 in the list of top 100 prospects compiled by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, and Minnesota doesn’t pick until No. 11, so the Wolves may be thinking about trading up. The team held a separate six-player workout yesterday that included Rayjon Tucker (Arkansas-Little Rock), Amir Coffey (Minnesota), Dedric Lawson (Kansas) and Kris Wilkes (UCLA) (Twitter link).
  • French standout Sekou Doumbouya held a pro day today and will pay a visit to Minnesota for a workout early next week, according to Wolfson (Twitter link). The 6’9″ forward comes in ninth on Givony’s list .
  • Aaron Brooks, who ended his playing career with the Wolves during the 2017/18 season, attended a free agent camp with the team this week as a coach, Wolfson adds. At age 34, Brooks is hoping to make the transition into coaching. He played for seven teams in an 11-year career.
  • Two-way player Jared Terrell did well in the G League, but didn’t get much of a chance to showcase his skills at the NBA level in his rookie season, writes Kyle Ratke of NBA.com. Terrell, who averaged 7.9 minutes in 14 games with the Wolves, will now wait for an invitation to be part of Minnesota’s Summer League team.

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:

Full List Of 2019 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed its list of 66 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 May 15-19.

While a small handful of top prospects often skip the event, that won’t be the case this year — Zion Williamson and Ja Morant are on the league’s list of 66 names, along with R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Jarrett Culver, Darius Garland, De’Andre Hunter, and many more. Of course, those top prospects may not participate fully in all of the workouts and scrimmages at the combine.

A few more names figure to be added to this list, as a select number of the 40 draft-eligible prospects participating in the G League Elite Camp earlier in the week are expected to receive invites to the combine.

Here’s the full list of 66 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order:

  1. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech (sophomore)
  2. R.J. Barrett, G/F, Duke (freshman)
  3. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky (freshman)
  4. Darius Bazley, F, Princeton HS (OH) (N/A)
  5. Bol Bol, C, Oregon (freshman)
  6. Jordan Bone, G, Tennessee (junior)
  7. Brian Bowen, F, USA (born 1998)
  8. Ky Bowman, G, Boston College (junior)
  9. Ignas Brazdeikis, F, Michigan (freshman)
  10. Moses Brown, C, UCLA (freshman)
  11. Brandon Clarke, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  12. Nicolas Claxton, F, Georgia (sophomore)
  13. Jarrett Culver, G/F, Texas Tech (sophomore)
  14. Luguentz Dort, G, Arizona State (freshman)
  15. Devon Dotson, G, Kansas (freshman)
  16. Carsen Edwards, G, Purdue (junior)
  17. Bruno Fernando, F, Maryland (sophomore)
  18. Daniel Gafford, F/C, Arkansas (sophomore)
  19. Darius Garland, G, Vanderbilt (freshman)
  20. Quentin Grimes, G, Kansas (freshman)
  21. Kyle Guy, G, Virginia (junior)
  22. Jaylen Hands, G, UCLA (sophomore)
  23. Jaxson Hayes, F/C, Texas (freshman)
  24. Tyler Herro, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  25. Jaylen Hoard, F, Wake Forest (freshman)
  26. Talen Horton-Tucker, G, Iowa State (freshman)
  27. De’Andre Hunter, F, Virginia (sophomore)
  28. Ty Jerome, G, Virginia (junior)
  29. Cameron Johnson, G, UNC (senior)
  30. Keldon Johnson, F, Kentucky (freshman)
  31. Mfiondu Kabengele, C, Florida State (sophomore)
  32. Louis King, F, Oregon (freshman)
  33. Romeo Langford, G, Indiana (freshman)
  34. Dedric Lawson, F, Kansas (junior)
  35. Jalen Lecque, G, Brewster Academy (NH) (N/A)
  36. Nassir Little, F, UNC (freshman)
  37. Charles Matthews, G, Michigan (junior)
  38. Jalen McDaniels, F, San Diego State (sophomore)
  39. Ja Morant, G, Murray State (sophomore)
  40. Zach Norvell Jr., G, Gonzaga (sophomore)
  41. Jaylen Nowell, G, Washington (sophomore)
  42. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville (sophomore)
  43. Chuma Okeke, F, Auburn (sophomore)
  44. KZ Okpala, F, Stanford (sophomore)
  45. Miye Oni, G/F, Yale (junior)
  46. Eric Paschall, F, Villanova (senior)
  47. Shamorie Ponds, G, St. John’s (junior)
  48. Jordan Poole, G, Michigan (sophomore)
  49. Jontay Porter, F, Missouri (sophomore)
  50. Kevin Porter Jr, G, USC (freshman)
  51. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (freshman)
  52. Cam Reddish, F, Duke (freshman)
  53. Naz Reid, C, LSU (freshman)
  54. Isaiah Roby, F, Nebraska (junior)
  55. Luka Samanic, F, Croatia (born 2000)
  56. Admiral Schofield, G, Tennessee (senior)
  57. Simisola Shittu, F, Vanderbilt (freshman)
  58. Killian Tillie, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  59. PJ Washington, F, Kentucky (sophomore)
  60. Tremont Waters, G, LSU (sophomore)
  61. Quinndary Weatherspoon, G, Missippi State (senior)
  62. Coby White, G, UNC (freshman)
  63. Kris Wilkes, G, UCLA (sophomore)
  64. Grant Williams, F, Tennessee (junior)
  65. Zion Williamson, F, Duke (freshman)
  66. Dylan Windler, G, Belmont (senior)

Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga) and Matisse Thybulle (Washington) are among the potential first-round picks who aren’t on the NBA’s list of combine participants, as noted by Jeremy Woo of SI.com and ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter links).

And-Ones: Kobe, Wilkes, Young Cores

Kobe Bryant spent his entire 20-year NBA career with the Lakers and doesn’t regret doing so, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t thought about what it would have been like to play for another franchise. In a Q&A with Frank Isola of The Athletic, Bryant suggested that the idea of playing for the Knicks was one that intrigued him.

“I always kind of dreamed about playing in New York and what that would have been like,” Bryant said. “It’s true. As a fan, the Garden was the historical arena. … There is like three historical arenas. Chicago Stadium and Boston Garden were torn down. The only thing left was MSG. So, I always wanted to be a part of that history and play in it. So, New York was a team … it would have been pretty good to play in that city.”

Bryant also shared some opinions on the Lakers, telling Isola that he thinks they’ll be “just fine” whether or not they decide to trade some of their younger players, and offered praise for Giannis Antetokounmpo (“He’s just scratching the surface”) and Zion Williamson (“Lot of potential”). He also laughed off Isola’s inquiry on whether he’d consider returning to the Lakers and teaming up with LeBron James.

“That’s an easy one … because I don’t want to play no more,” Kobe said. “I’m done.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • After testing the draft waters a year ago and ultimately returning to school, UCLA sophomore Kris Wilkes will sign with an agent and enter his name in the 2019 NBA draft, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. Wilkes, the No. 67 prospect on ESPN’s big board, averaged 17.3 PPG on .432/.337/.671 shooting for the Bruins this year.
  • Which NBA teams appear to have the brightest futures based on their young talent? Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports tackles that question, identifying which clubs have the most promising young cores. The Sixers lead the way, while the Hawks, Bulls, and Suns fall outside of Goodwill’s top five.
  • A number of players who were bought out and/or waived last month have made an impact for new teams, according to Jordan Hicks of Basketball Insiders, who points to Wesley Matthews (Pacers) and Enes Kanter (Trail Blazers) as a couple veterans having success for their new clubs.

Kris Wilkes Returning To UCLA

Freshman guard/forward Kris Wilkes has withdrawn his name from the 2018 NBA draft pool and will head back to UCLA for his sophomore season, the school announced today (via Twitter). Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports first reported Wilkes’ decision (via Twitter).

“I’m grateful to everybody at UCLA who has been supporting me and helping me through the pre-draft process,” Wilkes said in a statement. “It was certainly an eye-opening experience, one that I know is going to help me get better. I’m excited for the summer and for our season ahead, and I’m ready to get to work. Go Bruins!”

In his freshman season with the Bruins, Wilkes emerged as a reliable contributor for Steve Alford‘s squad, averaging 13.7 PPG and 4.9 RPG with a .441/.352/.655 shooting line. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony ranked Wilkes 69th on his big board of 2018 NBA draft prospects.

Wilkes’ decision was one of two big ones the Bruins were waiting on — Jaylen Hands will also have to decide by the end of the day on Wednesday whether he’s going pro or returning to UCLA.

Draft Updates: Washington, Wilkes, Happ, Konate

Kentucky forward PJ Washington will test the draft waters after his freshman year, he announced on Tuesday (via Twitter). In his statement, Washington stressed that he loves the Kentucky program and isn’t in a hurry to decide on going pro, but was encouraged by coach John Calipari to get feedback on where he stands.

In the view of ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, Washington is the No. 47 prospect in this year’s class, which would give him a good chance of being drafted this spring. The 6’7″ forward is coming off a freshman season in which he averaged 10.8 PPG and 5.7 RPG for the Wildcats.

Here are a few more of the latest draft updates:

  • UCLA forward Kris Wilkes will enter the 2018 NBA draft without hiring an agent, he tells Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports (Twitter link). The No. 68 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Wilkes posted 13.7 PPG and 4.9 RPG as a freshman for the Bruins in 2017/18.
  • The University of Wisconsin announced on Tuesday (via Twitter) that junior big man Ethan Happ will test the draft waters. “The underclassmen rule allows Ethan and others to participate in workouts with teams and potentially the NBA combine,” coach Greg Gard said of the junior forward/center, the 77th player on ESPN’s top 100. “This experience will be invaluable for him and will ultimately make him a better player.”
  • West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate will also test the draft waters, per a report from The Associated Press. In his sophomore year, Konate averaged 10.8 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and an impressive 3.2 BPG in just 25.4 minutes per contest.
  • Iowa redshirt sophomore Isaiah Moss has declared for the 2018 NBA draft but won’t hire an agent, retaining his NCAA eligibility for now, the program announced in a press release. The 6’5″ guard averaged 11.1 PPG on .420/.386/.879 shooting in 2017/18. Like other underclassmen who aren’t hiring an agent, Moss will have until May 30 to withdraw his name in order to retain his NCAA eligibility.