Luke Kennard

Heat Notes: Leaf, Collins, Reed, Aldridge

The Heat will be looking for size with the 14th pick, especially if Luke Kennard and Donovan Mitchell are both off the board, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. T.J. Leaf, who proved to be an effective outside shooter at UCLA, is a possibility, along with Gonzaga’s Zach Collins, who can also hit from 3-point range. Miami would like to find a stretch four to team with Hassan Whiteside, a traditional low-post center.

If Collins is off the board, Jackson says the Heat will look at Jarrett Allen of Texas and Justin Patton of Creighton. Both are 6’11” and are targeted for the back of the lottery or possibly later. A minor injury prevented Allen from working out for Miami, but he held an interview Sunday and reportedly impressed team officials. Patton did participate in a workout for the Heat on Sunday.

Jackson offers more insight into Miami’s strategy for tonight and beyond:

  • Drafting a backup center would protect the Heat in case Willie Reed leaves in free agency. The front office fears that Reed will get an offer significantly higher than the team is willing to pay.
  • Leaf could be a replacement for either Luke Babbitt or James Johnson, two forwards who are both headed for free agency.
  • Another big man to consider is John Collins of Wake Forest, who impressed the Heat in a workout last week. Miami will also look at Duke’s Harry Giles, but might be scared off by his history of knee problems. Giles canceled a workout in Miami and never rescheduled.
  • If the Heat decide to trade down, they will focus on UCLA center Ike Anigbogu and Kentucky power forward Bam Adebayo.
  • Miami is a possible destination if LaMarcus Aldridge wants out of San Antonio. The Spurs are seeking a top 10 draft pick and would like to cut salary to make a run at Chris Paul. Jackson says Miami could offer a competitive package of the 14th pick, Wayne Ellington, whose $6.27MM contract won’t be guaranteed until July 12th, Justise Winslow and Josh McRoberts.

Draft Notes: Jackson, Ball, Ntilikina, Smith

Kansas forward Josh Jackson wanted to work out for the Celtics after they traded for the No. 3 pick, but couldn’t work out the scheduling, tweets Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The Celtics are reportedly deciding between Jackson and Duke forward Jayson Tatum if they decide to keep the pick, and Tatum held a workout in Boston on Monday.

Jackson added that he has spoken to Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown and believes they would form a good combination (Twitter link). The former Jayhawk also disputed a rumor that he refused to work out for the team unless he was promised Boston wouldn’t trade its pick (Twitter link).

There’s more as the top prospects met with the media today in New York:

  • Lonzo Ball confirmed to reporters his only pre-draft meeting was with the Lakers, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. Ball also believes L.A. traded D’Angelo Russell to open up a spot for him and he can see that “the Lakers have a plan.” He adds that the Lakers haven’t promised to take him, relays Adam Zagoria of Fanrag Sports (Twitter link), saying, “We’ll just find out tomorrow night.” Ball also explained why he turned down a session with the Celtics when they had the top pick, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “If it’s either play for the hometown or go No. 1, I’d rather play for the hometown,” Ball said.
  • Frank Ntilikina met with the Knicks front office today, including team president Phil Jackson, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The French point guard, who is reportedly in strong consideration with New York’s No. 8 pick, said the team wanted to meet him in person.
  • Dennis Smith Jr. also met with Jackson and the Knicks front office, Begley relays (Twitter link). The North Carolina State point guard believes he can be effective in the triangle offense.
  • Indiana’s OG Anunoby said doctors have assured him that he can resume basketball activities by October or early November, according to Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link). Anunoby had surgery on his right knee after a season-ending injury in January.
  • Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen was a Timberwolves fan growing up, and Minnesota was among the four teams he worked out for, Fischer tweets. The others were the Mavericks, Celtics and Magic, and he had a meeting with the Knicks.
  • Gonzaga’s Zach Collins had private workouts with the Magic, Wolves, Kings, Mavericks and Suns, and a group session with the Lakers, Fischer relays (Twitter link).
  • Duke’s Luke Kennard held individual workouts for the Lakers, Pistons, Knicks and Mavericks (Twitter link).
  • The Nets and Bulls were among the teams to work out international big man Isaiah Hartenstein leading up to the draft, tweets David Pick.

Draft Notes: Jackson, Bako, Collins

The Hornets worked out a handful of possible first-round draft picks Sunday, including familiar face Justin Jackson. Alongside video footage of Jackson following the workout, Diedra Laird of the Charlotte Observer writes that club additionally auditioned Bam Adebayo, Luke Kennard and more.

Jackson, a North Carolina product, is being forecast as the No. 19 overall pick in NBADraft.net‘s latest mock draft. Duke product Kennard, on the other hand, has been projected as the No. 12 pick. Adebayo, out of Kentucky, is currently forecast to go No. 17 in that same mock.

Although the Hornets will pick earlier than any of those projections at No. 11, it’s reasonable that they could elect to take a flyer on a blue chip prospect that played their college basketball in state.

There are more pre-draft workout notes from around the league:

Pre-Draft Workouts: Hart, Smith Jr., Kennard, Adebayo

It’s that time of the summer, days until the NBA draft, when your favorite team is doing its due diligence and working out every prospect and his brother. Here is the latest in pre-draft workout news:

Draft Rumors: Lakers, Ball, Monk, Kennard

On Thursday, we learned that the Lakers are “taking and making calls” about the No. 2 overall pick, and according to ESPN’s Chad Ford (Insider-only link), one scenario in particular has piqued the team’s interest. Ford reports that the Lakers have had internal discussions about trading back to No. 4 if the Suns are willing to offer them a 2018 first-round pick. The Suns are currently in line to have two first-rounders next year, with Miami’s top-seven protected pick coming their way, but that’d still be a steep price to move up two spots.

According to Ford, the Lakers are unwilling to trade their No. 2 overall pick if it involves dropping out of the top five entirely, since they want to land at least one prospect with star potential next Thursday. The most likely scenario involves the team simply keeping the pick, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, who hears from team sources that a trade remains a long shot.

Here are more draft rumors and notes, with less than a week to go until the big day:

  • Lonzo Ball, who will work out for the Lakers again on Friday, is considering talking to other lottery teams that want to meet with him, according to Ramona Shelburne. Ball’s preference is to land in Los Angeles, but if the team doesn’t give him any indication after Friday’s meeting that he has “separated himself” from other contenders for that No. 2 pick, he may explore more options, per Shelburne.
  • Having worked out for four teams with picks between Nos. 3 and 8, Malik Monk doesn’t intend to audition for any more clubs before the draft, tweets Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.
  • Former Duke sharpshooter Luke Kennard is starting to be considered alongside several second-tier prospects in this draft, according to Chad Ford, who reports that the Knicks are “seriously considering” Kennard at No. 8. One GM tells Ford that his team has Kennard ranked higher than Monk on its board, while a Lakers source says Kennard would be the favorite for L.A. if the club could acquire a second top-10 pick.
  • Another GM from a late-lottery team to Ford, regarding Kennard: “There’s no way he gets to us. I don’t think there’s any way he’s out of the top 10. We think he’s the best shooter in the draft. We think he’s tough. He’s more athletic than you think. He really thinks the game. He’s the most underrated guy in this draft.”
  • Danny Chau, Jonathan Tjarks, and Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer identify eight prospects who are rising or falling on their respective draft boards.

Draft Rumors: Jackson, Kennard, Isaac, Smith Jr.

Although foot issues have prevented former Duke guard Frank Jackson from working out for teams in recent weeks, he has been visiting and meeting with several clubs, per Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Deveney reports that the Hawks, Knicks, and Jazz have all brought in Jackson.

Elsewhere in his piece, Deveney provides updates on OG Anunoby and Luke Kennard, writing that the Lakers are holding out hope that Anunoby will fall to them at No. 28, though he’s receiving interest from plenty of teams picking earlier. As for Kennard, one scout who spoke to Deveney wasn’t overly bullish on Kennard’s ability to sneak into the top 10.

“I understand that everyone wants shooters,” the scout said of Kennard. “No one questions that the kid can shoot. But I can’t see him becoming a good defender. You just hope that he develops into a neutral defender, that he does not hurt you. He might go in the lottery in this draft because of the way he can shoot, but in most drafts he is more down in the late teens.”

Here are a few more draft-related rumors and notes from around the league:

Knicks Rumors: Dolan, Ntilikina, Kennard, Carmelo

Appearing on Fox 5 this week, Knicks owner James Dolan was asked about his involvement in basketball decisions, and maintained that he has no role in that side of the business. According to Dolan, who has been more hands-on with the basketball operations department in the past, people ask him all the time about the Knicks’ roster, and he tells them to “ask Phil [Jackson].”

“It’s all Phil. It’s all [GM] Steve [Mills],” Dolan said, per Ian Begley of ESPN.com. “I’m working on my music, they’re working on the basketball team.”

Here’s more out of New York:

  • The Knicks reportedly have interest in French point guard Frank Ntilikina, and it appears that interest is mutual. Marc Berman of The New York Post spoke to Ntilikina, a probable lottery pick, about his potential fit with the Knicks, the idea of playing with Kristaps Porzingis, and more.
  • Former Duke sharpshooter Luke Kennard is another player the Knicks figure to consider with the No. 8 overall pick, and he worked out for the team on Monday, writes Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Kennard is currently considered more likely to be picked outside of the top 10.
  • With the Cavaliers looking to find a way to add more firepower to compete with Golden State, Carmelo Anthony may find his name linked to Cleveland in the coming weeks. However, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News, that scenario would probably only be viable if the Knicks bought out Anthony and he was willing to play on a discounted contract in Cleveland. In other words, a trade isn’t likely.

Draft Notes: Tatum, Kennard, Jefferson, Allen

Duke’s Jayson Tatum worked out today in Los Angeles for the Suns, who will give him strong consideration with their No. 4 pick, writes Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic. The 6’8″ forward may be the most offensively talented player in the draft, but he has shortcomings on defense, which is the prime concern in Phoenix. Still, he is ranked fourth or fifth in most mock drafts and could easily wind up in a Suns uniform.

There’s more news from a busy day of draft workouts:

  • Duke’s Luke Kennard wants teams to think of him as more than just a shooter. In a video posted on The Detroit News website, Kennard tells reporters he can handle the ball and has the physical strength to play in the NBA. He worked out for the Pistons today and has upcoming sessions with the Magic, Knicks, Mavericks and Hornets.
  • Duke teammate Amile Jefferson is going through a workout marathon, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Jefferson, who was part of a six-player session with the Hornets today, hopes to work out for about half the league’s 30 teams before draft day. “I love every minute of it,” Jefferson said. “This is the only chance you get to do something like this. From state to state, really introduce yourself and show off your talents to 15 or more teams in the NBA. I’m cherishing all these places. I’m really thankful for this opportunity.” He has also held workouts for the Timberwolves, Jazz, Knicks, Rockets and Nuggets, with six more on his schedule.
  • Texas center Jarrett Allen, who worked out for the Kings today, is trying to develop a more consistent outside shot, relays Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Allen watched Game 4 of the NBA Finals with team officials Friday night and said he enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere. “I like how they understand it’s a really busy time,” Allen said, “so they’re just trying to get into a relaxed situation; it helps us out a lot more than people think.” Sacramento also held a six-player workout today with Joe Rahon of Saint Mary’s, Milton Doyle of Loyola, Matt Williams of Central Florida, Semi Ojeleye  of SMU, RaShawn Thomas of Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Eric Mika of BYU. Zach Collins of Gonzaga is scheduled for a session on Sunday.
  • Terrance Ferguson, who committed to Alabama and Arizona before playing last season in Australia, was among the players who worked out for the Trail Blazers today, relays Mike Richman of The Oregonian. He is considered to be a first-round talent who can contribute as a “3 and D” wing player. “Every NBA teams needs shooting,” he said. “…Shooting and a coachable player and defense. I think I can bring that to the table.” Ferguson has also worked out for the Lakers, Pacers, Bulls and Nuggets and has visits remaining with the Hornets, Heat, Pistons, Nets and Bucks.

Bucks Notes: GM Search, Workouts, MECCA, D-League

Whoever is hired as the next Bucks’ GM isn’t expected to bring significant changes to the organization, writes Gery Woelfel of WoelfelsPressBox.com. After the departure of John Hammond to become GM in Orlando, the only person from Milwaukee’s front office likely to join him is Jon Horst, who served as director of basketball operations. The Bucks originally opposed letting Horst leave, but now the move is considered a formality. Billy McKinney, who serves as vice president of scouting, was rumored to join Hammond but now is expected to stay in Milwaukee. The rest of the front office remains intact, including assistant GM Justin Zanik, who was one of three finalists announced this week.

There’s more today out of Milwaukee:

  • Holding the 17th pick, the Bucks haven’t been able to secure workouts with potential targets Luke Kennard and Harry Giles of Duke, Woelfel notes in the same piece. Kennard worked out today for the Pistons, who have the 12th pick, and has upcoming sessions with the Magic (6), Knicks (8), Mavericks (9) and Hornets (11). Giles’ workout schedule includes the Pistons, Heat (14), Bulls (16) and Pacers, who will pick after the Bucks at No. 18.
  • Hawks advisor and former GM Wes Wilcox made a strong impression in his interview Friday and may be the front-runner for the Bucks’ GM job, according to Woelfel (Twitter link). Along with Zanik, Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas is the other finalist for the position.
  • As part of their 50th anniversary celebration, the Bucks will play a regular season game at the MECCA, the team announced today on its website. Now called UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, the building served as the Bucks’ home from their creation in 1968 until 1988. “It’s going to be such a unique and special occasion for our current players to take the court at the MECCA and for our fans to experience the early era of the Bucks,” said team president Peter Feigin.
  • The Bucks’ new D-League team will be called the Wisconsin Herd, according to a release from the team. The Herd will debut in November and will be based in Oshkosh.

Draft Notes: Monk, Kennard, Green Room Invitations

The Knicksworkout with Kentucky’s Malik Monk this week will be private, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Projected as a high to mid-lottery pick, Monk has already worked out for the Suns, who own the fourth selection, and Magic, who have No. 6. New York’s front office is giving serious consideration to Monk at No. 8, along with French point guard Frank Ntilikina and North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith, Begley notes. Smith had a session scheduled with the Knicks this week, but wound up having dinner with team president Phil Jackson and didn’t participate in a workout.

There’s more draft news as June 22nd approaches:

  • Shooting specialist Luke Kennard of Duke also has a private workout scheduled for the Knicks, Begley adds in the same piece. Kennard may have pushed himself into the top 12 with his performance in pre-draft workouts, including CAA’s event last weekend in Los Angeles, according to Begley, who adds that the Knicks would like to trade for another first-rounder and may be targeting Kennard if that happens. New York has discussed a deal with the Trail Blazers, who hold picks 15, 20 and 26. The Pistons have expressed a willingness to swap the 12th selection for veteran help, and Begley believes the Knicks have reached out to them.
  • Kennard is part of a high-profile group to work out for the Pistons today, tweets Keith Langlois of MLive. He is joined by Duke’s Harry Giles, Wake Forest’s John Collins and Kentucky’s Isaac Humphries. Teams are permitted to bring in up to six players at a time, but Detroit is having difficulty getting players to visit because it doesn’t own a second-round pick (Twitter link). Kennard told reporters he has upcoming sessions with the Magic, Knicks, Mavericks and Hornets, who all pick before the Pistons. (Twitter link).
  • Ntilikina, Collins and Jarrett Allen of Texas have been added to the list of green room invites for draft night, according to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. That brings the total to 13, with more invitations to be extended Monday.
  • Creighton’s Justin Patton held his first pre-draft workout this week for the Trail Blazers, tweets Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. He also plans to visit the Nuggets, Pistons, Hornets, Heat and maybe the Thunder.
  • Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig will work out for the Clippers Monday, Begley posts on ESPN Now. He has a session later in the week with the Rockets.
  • Georgetown’s L.J. Peak had a workout with the Sixers this week, tweets Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly. He has future sessions set up with the Hawks, Nets, Knicks, Celtics, Spurs, Wizards and Suns.
  • Vanderbilt’s Luke Kornet worked out for the Knicks this week, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. He also had workouts for the Kings, Celtics, Suns and Jazz.
  • Indiana’s James Blackmon Jr. has worked out for the Pistons, Kings, Wizards, Magic and Rockets, with more on the schedule, tweets Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype.
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