Marko Arapovic

Southwest Rumors: Howard, Rockets, Grizzlies

Dwight Howard‘s three seasons in Houston weren’t exactly an unequivocal success, and the veteran center didn’t mesh particularly well with Mike D’Antoni in Los Angeles during his brief stint with the Lakers. Still, appearing on SiriusXM Bleacher Report Radio, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told Howard Beck and Noah Coslov that his team, and his team’s new head coach, would “welcome [Howard] back” (link via Tyler Conway of Bleacher Report). Even if the club is saying the right things about re-signing Howard, hiring D’Antoni seemed to signal that the Rockets are at least as willing to move on from the eight-time All-Star as they are to re-sign him.

Here’s more from out of the Southwest division:

  • In pre-draft workout news, Croatian power forward Marko Arapovic tweeted today that he had a workout with the Rockets, while Ronald Tillery of The Commerical Appeal writes that the Grizzlies‘ Monday workout group featured Ryan Anderson (Arizona), Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame), Thon Maker (Athlete Institute Canada), Patrick McCaw (UNLV), Retin Obasohan (Alabama), and Tyler Ulis (Kentucky).
  • Spurs assistant James Borrego made a strong impression in multiple head coaching searches this year, and looks like a solid candidate to land a head coaching job in 2017, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). Reports within the last couple months connected Borrego to the coaching searches in Houston, Memphis, Orlando, and Sacramento.
  • Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News identifies a few pending free agents who won’t command the max and who could be good fits for the Mavericks, including Kent Bazemore, Brandon Jennings, and Joakim Noah.
  • David Aldridge of conducted a lengthy and interesting Q&A with new Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale.

And-Ones: Salary Cap, Draft, Jersey Ads

Croatian power forward Marko Arapovic will enter this year’s NBA draft, as he announced on Twitter, and the same is true for Slovenian shooting guard Blaz Mesicek, as his agent, Benjamin Stevic, told Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress (Twitter link). Both hold a degree of intrigue, with Givony having slotted the 6’6″, 18-year-old Mesicek at No. 32 in his 2017 mock draft, though he’s not in Givony’s top 100 prospects for this year. The 6’9″, 19-year-old Arapovic is 96th among this year’s prospects, as Givony ranks them, and he’s No. 100 with Chad Ford of International prospects aren’t bound to NCAA rules, so they can hire agents and withdraw from the draft as late as June 13th.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The latest official projection for next year’s salary cap is $92MM, according to a memo the NBA sent to executives around the league, notes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (Twitter link). That’s an increase on the $90MM projection reported in February, though many had already estimated the cap would wind up in the $92MM to $95MM range.
  • Owners sense the league is prosperous and the collective bargaining agreement is working, commissioner Adam Silver said today about this week’s board of governors meetings, as Ken Berger of relays (Twitter link). Silver remains optimistic about avoiding a work stoppage next year as negotiations with the players union progress toward a new labor deal, tweets Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.
  • The addition of jersey ads, which the board of governors have formally approved for the start of the 2017/18 season, are liable to raise the salary cap $2MM to $3MM annually based on projections circulating around the league, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Silver estimates the ads will generate $100MM in annual revenue, according to Darren Rovell of (Twitter link).
  • French power forward/center Mathias Lessort intends to enter the 2016 NBA draft, announced (via Twitter). The 20-year-old is a long shot to be selected, not appearing among the top 100 players on either Ford’s or Givony’s rankings.
  • Vanderbilt junior center Damian Jones intends to enter the draft and will sign with Austin Brown of CAA, Jeff Goodman of relays (Twitter links). Jones is ranked as the No. 21 overall prospect by Givony and comes in at No. 43 according to Ford. Jones has long planned to go into the draft this year, having said as much in October.
  • Former Pelicans big man Jarnell Stokes was named the MVP of the NBA D-League, the Sioux Falls Skyforce announced. In 28 D-League appearances, Stokes averaged 20.6 points and 9.3 rebounds in 30.7 minutes per contest.
  • Wichita State senior shooting guard Ron Baker has signed with agent Aaron Mintz of CAA, Goodman tweets. The 23-year-old is the No. 98 overall prospect in this year’s draft according to Givony.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.