Malik Monk

Malik Monk Was Convinced Knicks Would Draft Him

The Knicks were under Phil Jackson‘s reign during this summer’s draft and the team selected Frank Ntilikina with the No. 8 overall pick. Jackson has since been ousted, though the current front office is confident in the team’s first round selection, as Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News relays.

“I talked to our scouts a lot about Frank before the draft. I went over and watched Frank play prior to the draft, met with Frank’s coaches and learned a lot about who he is as a player and who he is as a person,” said Steve Mills, who has been with the organization since 2013, but has been recently promoted to Team President. “So I’m very comfortable with that draft pick. I would have selected Frank at that point in the draft myself. He’s a guy that fits in everything that we’re talking about right now. He’s a smart basketball player. He focuses defensively and his approach to the game, his work ethic, fit exactly in the direction that we want to take this team.”

New York decided to take the Ntilikina over other notable guards. The front office had internal debates about taking Dennis Smith Jr., Donovan Mitchell or Malik Monk over the French point guard, but ultimately passed on each.

Monk met with the team leading up to the draft and believed he would be the selection at No. 8.

“Me, my agent, everybody in my agency, my family – we all thought we were going to NY,” Monks said (via Bondy’s Twitter feed.

On the day of the draft, Chad Ford of ESPN.com predicted Monk or Ntilikina would be the selection for New York. Monk was nabbed by the Hornets with the No. 11 overall pick.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Crawford, Mack

The Hornets have taken significant steps forward this offseason but one of the big questions heading into the 2017/18 campaign will be whether wings Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nicolas Batum will be able to thrive together.

In a recent mailbag, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tackled the question arguing that the lanky pair help the squad more than hinder them. Bonnell refers to the Hornets’ defensive woes as the major culprit for Charlotte’s disappointing 2016/17 campaign, saying that taking Kidd-Gilchrist out of the picture would only make matters worse.

Bonnell does add, however, that the Hornets would be wise to feature rookie Malik Monk as soon as he’s able to prove that he’s reasonably competent on the defensive end. If he slots in at the two, Batum could then slide up to the three.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks acquired Jamal Crawford in the three-way deal that sent Danilo Gallinari to the Clippers and immediately began pursuing a buyout with the 36-year-old veteran. Exact details of the buyout are not yet known but Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that the guard’s cap hit will be around $11MM in 2017/18.
  • There’s no disputing Shelvin Mack‘s track record of success, he suited up for the 60-win Hawks of 2014/15 and served a valuable role for the 2016/17 Jazz squad that climbed back to relevance. According to John Denton of Orlando’s official website, the former Butler Bulldog thinks that even the Magic can be winners in the immediate future.
  • After a breakout 2013/14 campaign in which he filled in admirably for an injured Kobe Bryant, Jodie Meeks has posted three forgettable, injury-plagued seasons. Now a member of the Wizards, the soon-to-be 30-year-old is ready to reset and start anew. “I came back from my thumb at the end of the season,” he told Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I played okay and finished out the season healthy. This summer I got some rest. Now I’m working out again and I feel fine.
  • After riding the pine for the Wizards in 2016/17, Sheldon Mac and Daniel Ochefu have taken noticeable steps forward, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes.

Malik Monk Signs Rookie Contract With Hornets

The Hornets have signed 11th-overall pick Malik Monk, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets. The 19-year-old will make $2.9MM in 2017/18.

After averaging 19.8 points per game in his one and only season with Kentucky, Monk will set out to provide Kemba Walker with much needed backcourt support, although he may need to scale his way up the depth chart before he does.

For details of Monk’s rookie deal, worth $15.7MM in all, check out our chart breaking down the pay scale for all first-round picks.

Draft Rumors: Monk, Ntilikina, Hornets, Thunder

Malik Monk and Frank Ntilikina may be in “weird positions” tonight, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford. As Ford explains, one of those two players is a good bet to land with the Knicks at No. 8. However, the player who isn’t picked by New York is a candidate to fall out of the top 10 and perhaps to the end of the lottery. In his final mock draft, Ford has Ntilikina going to the Knicks and Monk slipping to the Pistons at No. 12.

Here are a few more draft rumors and notes:

  • Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post continues to hear that if he’s still on the board at No. 11, Donovan Mitchell appears likely to land with the Hornets (Twitter link).
  • There’s “growing chatter” that Frank Jackson has a first-round promise, and the Thunder may be that team that gave him that guarantee, tweets Royce Young of ESPN.com. Young adds (via Twitter) that Oklahoma City may look to trade back a few spots in the first round in an effort to pick up a second-round selection.
  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 identifies Davon Reed and Semi Ojeleye as two players to watch for the Suns in the second round (Twitter link).

Draft Notes: Mitchell, Jackson, Tatum, Ferguson

Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell will hold a last-minute workout for the Knicks today, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now. The sophomore out of Louisville, whose session was originally scheduled for Tuesday, is being considered with the No 8 pick, Begley adds, along with French point guard Frank Ntilikina, Kentucky guard Malik Monk, Arizona big man Lauri Markkanen and others. Team president Phil Jackson is intrigued by Mitchell’s defensive prowess and athleticism and likes the fact that he prefers to work out in a group setting to showcase his defense. Joining Mitchell today will be Villanova’s Josh Hart, Miami’s Davon Reed, Iowa State’s Naz Long and others.

There’s more draft news on the eve of the big event:

  • The Celtics have received Josh Jackson‘s medical records, but the Kansas forward still refuses to work out for the team, tweets Chad Ford of ESPN.com. Boston appears to be leaning toward Duke’s Jayson Tatum with the No. 3 pick, Ford states, but no decision has been made.
  • Ford still has Jackson as the third selection in his latest mock draft, which was released today. Markelle Fultz remains No. 1, followed by Lonzo Ball, with the rest of the top 10 as Tatum, Jonathan Isaac, De’Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith Jr., Monk, Zach Collins and Markkanen.
  • Terrance Ferguson recently pulled out of workouts with the Pistons, Hawks and Bucks, tweets Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated. It’s possible that Ferguson received a draft promise from the Nuggets or Nets or he may have been responding to poor workouts (Twitter link).
  • A 7-footer with a soft shooting touch, Markkanen is drawing comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki, writes Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. Some scouts believe the 20-year-old Finnish star is the best 3-point shooter in the draft. “It’s probably not fair to him to have some young guy compared to a Hall of Fame player and champion,” Markkanen said of Nowitzki. “We have similarities because of the height, being from Europe and shooting. But I have a long way to go before I’m in the same category as him. Hopefully, I can get there one day.”
  • The Wizards will work out six players today, the team announced on its website. They are French center Alpha Kaba, Cincinnati’s Troy Caupain Jr., VCU’s JeQuan Lewis, Eastern Michigan’s Jalen Ross, Niagara’s Tahjere McCall and East Tennessee State’s Hanner Mosquera-Perea.

Northwest Rumors: Gallinari, Blazers, Monk, Timberwolves

Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari doesn’t consider Denver his preferred choice in free agency, according to a Premium Sport interview that was relayed by Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. Gallinari, who will decline his $16.1MM player option in order to enter the market, says the Nuggets are “exactly at the same level” as any other team that pursues him. The only thing in Denver’s favor is that it can offer an extra year, Gallinari adds in the interview.

In other news around the Northwest Division:

  • North Carolina swingman Justin Jackson was among six players the Trail Blazers brought in for pre-draft workouts on Monday, the team’s website reports. Considered a potential late-lottery selection, Jackson is currently ranked No. 16 on DraftExpress’ list of Top 100 prospects. A trio of big men with first-round potential were also at the workout, including Isaiah Hartenstein (No. 19), who played in Lithuania last season; University of California’s Ivan Rabb (No. 30); and Oregon’s Jordan Bell (No. 35).
  • The Timberwolves will have a tough decision if Kentucky shooting guard Malik Monk is still available when their turn comes up in the lottery, as Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune details. Monk could turn into a prolific scorer in the mold of the Trail Blazers’ C.J. McCollum, Zgoda continues. Alternatively, Minnesota might conclude that the 6’3” Monk will end up being an off-the-bench scorer because of his lack of size and length for his position, Zgoda adds. Minnesota holds the No. 7 overall pick.
  • Along with the well-documented Jimmy Butler rumors, the Timberwolves could pursue a number of pricey veterans in trades, Zgoda writes in a separate piece. LaMarcus Aldridge, Dwight Howard, Eric Bledsoe and Wes Matthews are among the players that Zgoda speculates could be potential trade targets for Minnesota.

Ford’s Latest: Lakers, Suns, Kings, Magic, Mavs

Sources in Los Angeles say that the Lakers have been “moving closer and closer” in recent days to making Lonzo Ball their man at No. 2, ESPN’s Chad Ford writes in his latest mock draft (Insider-only link). However, the Suns also have legitimate interest in Ball, and have had conversations with both the Lakers and Celtics about trading up, says Ford. Phoenix has interest in Josh Jackson too, but if both Jackson and Ball come off the board in the top three and the Suns don’t move up, Ford expects Jayson Tatum to be the team’s choice.

Here are several more interesting tidbits from Ford’s latest mock:

  • The Kings have explored moving up to No. 2 or No. 3, with De’Aaron Fox as their target. Ford’s mock suggests Sacramento will have a chance to nab Fox with the No. 5 pick though.
  • The Magic have shown “serious interest” in Jayson Tatum, but Ford thinks he’ll be off the board at No. 6, and has Orlando picking Jonathan Isaac instead.
  • The Knicks and Mavericks both appear to be very high on French point guard Frank Ntilikina. Ford says not to be surprised if Dallas attempts to leapfrog New York by trading up to No. 6 or No. 7 to secure Ntilikina.
  • Ford’s newest mock forecasts a potential fall out of the top 10 for Malik Monk. ESPN’s draft guru suggests that if Monk makes it past the Timberwolves and Knicks, he could slip to the Hornets at No. 11.
  • There has been “a lot of buzz” about the possibility of OG Anunoby landing with the Nuggets, Ford writes. The injured Indiana forward is receiving interest as high as No. 10 (Kings), but Denver would be a good fit, since the Nuggets wouldn’t need him to play right away.
  • The Trail Blazers, who hold three first-round picks, continue to shop around No. 20, per Ford.

Atlantic Notes: Ntilikina, Lowry, Pasecniks, Goodwin

Clarence Gaines Jr., the closest advisor to Knicks president Phil Jackson, is the latest team official to get a first-hand look at Frank Ntilikina, reports Marc Berman of The New York Post. Jackson’s preference for big guards may be enough for New York to draft Ntilikina at No. 8, although Berman notes that North Carolina State’s Dennis Smith Jr.  and Kentucky’s Malik Monk both have supporters in the front office. Ntilikina is 6’5″ with a 7-foot wingspan, a reputation for defensive intensity and a high basketball IQ. Jackson has developed a liking for European prospects after his success with Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez. Ntilikina’s case isn’t helped by his modest numbers — 5.2 points and 1.2 assists in about 18 minutes per game in the French League — but he says he is becoming a more aggressive player.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Saturday’s trade between the Sixers and Celtics removes a potential destination for Raptors free agent Kyle Lowry, writes Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. Philadelphia had been considered a threat to sign Lowry because it’s his hometown and the Sixers have considerable cap space. But with point guard Markelle Fultz headed to Philadelphia, there’s no need to spend money on Lowry.
  • The Nets may gamble on Latvian star Anzejs Pasecniks with one of their two picks late in the first round, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. A former teammate of Porzingis, the 7-foot-2, 226-pound center will have to develop his body to handle the NBA game. “Pasecniks is one of those guys that’d be perfect for a team with multiple [first-round] picks. Brooklyn’s got multiple picks,” said ESPN international analyst Fran Fraschilla. “Portland, and maybe even Utah may have multiple picks. He’s one of those guys that you could draft [and stash] him. Although he’s 21 and he’s anxious to get over here and start his NBA career.”
  • Brooklyn guard Archie Goodwin is a rare player with four years of experience who is volunteering for Summer League, tweets NetsDaily. Goodwin played briefly for the Pelicans and Nets this season, but spent most of the year in the D-League. He is hoping to secure a spot on the team after signing a two-year deal in April that contains several guarantee dates.

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.

76ers Notes: Fox, Monk, Korkmaz, Workouts

De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky is slated to work out for the 76ers this weekend, reports Keith Pompey of Philly.com. The workout is tentatively scheduled for Saturday. Fox worked out for the second-pick-possessing Lakers on Tuesday. Philadelphia holds the third overall pick. Pompey also adds that former Miami shooting guard Davon Reed will work out for the Sixers on Friday.

Here’s more professional basketball from the City of Brotherly Love:

  • Malik Monk (Kentucky) will work out for the Sixers on Thursday, according to Derek Bodner of The Ringer (link via Twitter).
  • Other prospects scheduled to work out for Philadelphia on Thursday include Dillon Brooks (Oregon), Dylan Ennis (Oregon), Jack Gibbs (Davidson), Josh Hart (Villanova), Tidjan Keita (France), and Darryl Reynolds (Villanova), also via Bodner (link via Twitter). This workout will be separate from Monk’s.
  • Furkan Korkmaz, who was drafted by Philly a year ago but has yet to play an NBA game, will play for Turkey’s under-20 team, which overlaps with the Las Vegas Summer League schedule, reports Bodner (link via Twitter). Still, Korkmaz is undecided on whether he will play for the 76ers during the summer league, adds Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com (link via Twitter).
  • The Sixers are considering using at least a couple of their four second-round picks on draft-and-stash options and Jonah Bolden (Australia) is one of the prospects they are most closely following, reports Orazio Cauchi of Sportando.com. Bolden played one season for UCLA before beginning his professional career in Europe’s Adriatic League.
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