Grizzlies Rumors

Combine Notes: Porter, Bamba, Young, Hutchison

The Clippers have their eyes on Michael Porter Jr. and are hoping to use their picks at No. 12 and 13 to trade up in the draft, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. The Missouri forward, who missed almost the entire season with a back injury, could give L.A. a reliable scorer in the frontcourt. O’Connor notes that team owner Steve Ballmer stopped his session with the media at the combine to listen to Porter’s interview.

Porter, who is projected at No. 8 to the Cavaliers in the latest mock draft by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, told reporters he had combine interviews scheduled with 13 teams, including the Clippers. He also stated that he believes he’s “the best player in the draft.”

L.A.’s challenge is finding a team willing to trade down. O’Connor cites the Grizzlies, Mavericks, Magic and Bulls — who hold picks four through seven — as teams in need of multiple assets. However, it’s not clear if any of them is willing to move back in the draft, and O’Connor has heard that Memphis is planning to keep its No. 4 pick. The Grizzlies are looking for size, O’Connor adds, but are the only team in the top eight not to ask for a meeting with Texas center Mo Bamba.
O’Connor’s recap on the combine is filled with interesting tidbits. Here are a few of the highlights:
  • Bamba believes he could form a dangerous combination with Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr., but Dallas may not be interested. With Dirk Nowitzki returning for another season, the Mavs will try to rebuild quickly to put a contending team around him. That means targeting a free agent big man such as DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Cousins or Julius Randle, which would make a scorer like Porter more attractive in the draft. O’Connor notes that Cousins’ agent, Jarinn Akana, has strong ties to the Mavericks. Of his 12 clients, five have played in Dallas and another was with its G League affiliate, Jaleel Cousins, who is DeMarcus’ brother.
  • The Knicks are interested in Oklahoma point guard Trae Young if he falls to the ninth pick. They see him as a good fit alongside last year’s first-rounder, Frank Ntilikina, who can take on the tougher defensive matchup and help space the floor for Young to drive to the basket. However, the Magic at No. 6 and the Cavaliers at No. 8 both need point guards, so Young could be off the board before New York’s selection.
  • It still isn’t clear who made a draft promise to Boise State forward Chandler Hutchison, but O’Connor was told he won’t drop into the late first round. Hutchison, who is expected to be taken between the 18th and 24th pick, held workouts for the Timberwolves and Bulls before withdrawing from the combine. It may or may not be a clue, but Hutchison’s agent, Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports, is a friend of Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and has represented many Chicago players.
  • Kostas Antetokounmpo showed a lot of similarities to his older brother Giannis Antetokounmpo in his combine workouts. Kostas, 2o, could be a second-round pick and may be a valuable asset for a team to have when Giannis hits free agency in 2021.

Draft Notes: DiVincenzo, Spellman, Walker, Bearden

Coach Jay Wright will recommend to Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman that they return to Villanova if it doesn’t look like they’ll be drafted in the first round, according to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. DiVincenzo goes to the Mavericks at No. 33 in the latest mock draft compiled by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, while Spellman isn’t projected to be taken. Players have until May 30 to make their decisions.

“Omari and Donte are out there to try to prove themselves as first-round picks,” Wright said of his players’ trips to the NBA Draft Combine. “For them, I hope they are. And I think this process has been good for them. I think they will get some good information.”

DiVincenzo met with the LakersMagicTimberwolvesTrail BlazersCavaliersSpursHawks and Grizzlies at the combine and said he received a lot of “positive feedback.” Spellman has upcoming workouts with the Lakers [May 23], Clippers [May 24], Spurs [26] and Jazz [28] that will likely influence his decision, Zagoria adds.

There’s more draft news as the deadline for decisions draws closer:

  • The Sixers may consider Miami guard Lonnie Walker at No. 10, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Walker met with Philadelphia officials Friday and was impressed by the experience. “It went well,” he said. “See a little bit of Elton Brand and all those guys, I felt like a little kid, seeing guys I watched on TV.” Givony has Walker projected at No. 13 to the Clippers.
  • Lamonte Bearden of Western Kentucky will sign with an agent and stay in the draft, tweets ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. The guard averaged 11.8 points and 3.4 assists as a redshirt junior.
  • Kent State’s Jaylin Walker tweeted that he will return to school for his senior season. He averaged 16.6 points per game for the Golden Flashes this season.
  • The Nuggets have pre-draft workouts scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, the team announced in an e-mail. Scheduled to appear at Monday’s session are Tyler Davis of Texas A&M, Cody Martin of Nevada, William McDowell-White of Brose Bamberg, Isaiah Reese of Canisius, Admiral Schofield of Tennessee and Reid Travis of Stanford. Tuesday’s schedule features Tyler Cook of Iowa, Jon Elmore of Marshall, Ethan Happ of Wisconsin, Mustapha Heron of Auburn, Charles Matthews of Michigan and Shamorie Ponds of St. John’s.

Knicks Notes: Smart, Porzingis, Delany, Draft

Grizzlies assistant Keith Smart is expected to become a top assistant on David Fizdale’s staff with the Knicks, tweets ESPN’s Ian Begley. Smart was an assistant with Fizdale for two years in Miami and came to Memphis with him when he was hired as head coach in 2016.

Smart, who appeared in just two NBA games as a player, began his coaching career in 2000. He has also been an assistant with the Cavaliers, Warriors and Kings and eventually became head coach of all three franchises, compiling a 93-170 career record.

J.B. Bickerstaff, who recently had his interim tag removed by the Grizzlies, has started interviewing potential replacements in anticipation of Smart’s departure, according to Begley.

There’s more today from New York:

  • Fizdale met Friday with Janis Porzingis, the older brother and agent for Kristaps Porzingis, relays Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. Fizdale is hoping to travel to Latvia this summer to talk with the Knicks’ star, who is currently rehabbing his left knee in Spain. Fizdale is working to repair a damaged relationship, Isola adds, as Porzingis has been losing faith in the front office, the Knicks’ medical staff and former coach Jeff Hornacek. In Friday’s meeting, Fizdale reportedly addressed his issues with Marc Gasol in Memphis and a reputation that he doesn’t deal well with foreign-born players.
  • Pat Delany, who also worked with Fizdale in Miami, could be another addition to the coaching staff, Isola adds. Delany has been with the Hornets the past four seasons.
  • Small forward is an obvious position of need for the Knicks, but they plan to approach the ninth pick in this year’s draft with a best-player-available philosophy, writes Chris Iseman of NorthJersey.com. Wing players Miles Bridges and Kevin Knox met with the Knicks during the draft combine, but so did point guards Collin Sexton and Trae Young, even though New York drafted Frank Ntilikina in the first round last year. “There’s no secret that we can use help on the wing,” GM Scott Perry said. “But at the end of the day I think we’re still in that talent-acquisition mode. If that happens to be at No. 9 a wing player, great. If we feel the most talented guy clearly is at another position then we got to look at that direction as well.”

Combine Notes: Bridges, Sixers, DiVincenzo, Sexton

Michigan State wing Miles Bridges, a probable lottery pick, interviewed with the Bulls, Pacers, Kings, Cavaliers, Spurs, Nuggets, and Clippers earlier this week, and was set to meet with the Sixers, Hornets, and Knicks on Friday, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Bridges is one of several intriguing prospects the Sixers are meeting with in Chicago this week, according to Pompey, who adds Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr., Michigan State power forward Jaren Jackson Jr., and IMG Academy guard Anfernee Simons to that list. Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo was also scheduled to interview with Philadelphia on Friday, Pompey tweets.

Finally, Pompey has details on Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo, who has been impressing NBA evaluators at this week’s combine and says he’s received plenty of “positive feedback.” According to Pompey, DiVincenzo has had meetings with the Lakers, Magic, Timberwolves, Trail Blazers, Cavaliers, Spurs, Hawks, and Grizzlies in Chicago.

Here’s more on meetings taking place at the combine:

Grizzlies Express Interest In Anfernee Simons

  • According to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter link), the Pelicans, Hawks, Cavaliers, Kings, Thunder, Grizzlies, Jazz, Spurs, Sixers, Nets, and Timberwolves have reached out to express interest in IMG Academy prospect Anfernee Simons.

Grizzlies To Explore Trading No. 4 Pick?

The buzz at this week’s draft combine in Chicago suggests that the Grizzlies are a prime candidate to trade a high pick next month, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Deveney hears that the Grizzlies’ preference would be to move up to No. 1 or No. 2 to grab one of 2018’s top prospects, but a trade down is probably more likely.

“If you have someone you like in the first few picks, they’re the first call you’d make,” one general manager said of the Grizzlies, per Deveney. “They obviously were the most disappointed with the way the lottery went and the options they have now. It seems like they want to try to turn that pick into something else.

“Everyone’s going to talk before the draft, of course,” the GM continued. “But Memphis, I think they’re the ones who are going to be more ready to do something than others.”

As Deveney observes, many of the most promising prospects who would be available for the Grizzlies at No. 4 are raw and wouldn’t necessarily be able to make an impact right away. Memphis hopes to return to playoff contention with a healthy Mike Conley in 2018/19, so moving down a few spots and picking up a wing like Mikal Bridges or Miles Bridges – along with an extra player – could be a favorable outcome for the club.

The Grizzlies also owe their 2019 first-round pick to the Celtics if it doesn’t land in the top eight, so if they explore a trade down, they may look to pick up a first-rounder in that draft, Deveney notes.

If Memphis stays at No. 4, the team’s top options figure to include the likes of Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, and Michael Porter Jr., assuming Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic, and Marvin Bagley III come off the board in the top three. While the Grizzlies may ultimately stay put, especially if one of those top prospects slips to them, we should expect them to be involved in trade discussions leading up to draft night, Deveney writes.

Draft Notes: Porter, Bamba, Sexton, Allen

Missouri standout Michael Porter Jr. spoke to reporters at the draft combine in Chicago today and confirmed he has met with the Knicks, Mavericks, Sixers, Suns, Cavaliers, Hawks, Grizzlies, Rockets and Clippers, tweets Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. He will have another set of interviews tomorrow as he is scheduled to meet with the Kings, Hornets, Thunder and Celtics.

Porter, 19, missed most of his freshman campaign after he suffered a serious back injury just two minutes into the season. Porter underwent surgery –a microdiscectomy of the L3-L4 spinal discs — which sidelined him until the SEC tournament later in the season. In total, Porter appeared in three games with the Tigers, averaging 10.0 PPG and 6.7 RPG. However, Porter spoke confidently about his abilities and how he compares to other talents in this year’s draft pool.

“I know without a doubt that I’m the — I played against all these guys, they’re all great players — but I’m the best player in this draft,” Porter said. “And I just can’t wait to show what I’m capable of.”

Check out more notes related to the draft below:

  • We relayed earlier that Texas big man Mohamed Bamba measured in with a staggering 7’10” wingspan at the combine. Bamba would have the longest wingspan of any player coming into the NBA since 2000. Speaking to reporters, including Madeline Kenney of the Chicago-Sun Times, Bamba addressed his strongest attribute.“I’d say my biggest strength right now, just one word to summarize it all, is just my presence,” Bamba said. “Both offensively and defensively, the presence that I have is pretty profound. I don’t think any other prospect has this presence. I do more but require less. That’s both on the court and off the court. I feel I’m the most efficient guy in this draft class.” Bamba confirmed he has met with 13 teams, tweets ESPN’s Nick Friedell.
  • Alabama point guard Collin Sexton is at the draft combine and has already met with five teams, Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. Sexton has yet to interview with the Mavericks but that could happen by Friday. Sexton did meet with the Knicks, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
  • The Timberwolves are set to interview Duke shooting guard Grayson Allen, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.

2018 NBA Draft Picks By Team

While the Sixers were knocked out of the 2018 playoffs in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by the underdog Celtics, few teams are better positioned in this year’s draft than Philadelphia. The 76ers own six of the 60 picks in the 2018 NBA draft, including a pair of first-rounders.

As our full 2018 draft order shows, the Sixers are one of seven NBA teams that holds more than two selections in this year’s draft. On the other end of the spectrum, eight teams have just one pick in 2018, while two teams – the Heat and Raptors – don’t have any selections.

To present a clearer picture of which teams are most – and least – stocked with picks for the 2018 NBA draft, we’ve rounded up all 60 picks by team in the space below. Let’s dive in…

Teams with more than two picks:

  • Philadelphia 76ers (6): 10, 26, 38, 39, 56, 60
  • Phoenix Suns (4): 1, 16, 31, 59
  • Atlanta Hawks (4): 3, 19, 30, 34
  • Dallas Mavericks (3): 5, 33, 54
  • Orlando Magic (3): 6, 35, 41
  • Denver Nuggets (3): 14, 43, 58
  • Brooklyn Nets (3): 29, 40, 45

Teams with two picks:

  • Sacramento Kings: 2, 37
  • Memphis Grizzlies: 4, 32
  • Chicago Bulls: 7, 22
  • New York Knicks: 9, 36
  • Charlotte Hornets: 11, 55
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 12, 13
  • Washington Wizards: 15, 44
  • San Antonio Spurs: 18, 49
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: 20, 48
  • Utah Jazz: 21, 52
  • Indiana Pacers: 23, 50
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 25, 47
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: 53, 57

Teams with fewer than two picks:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers (1): 8
  • Milwaukee Bucks (1): 17
  • Portland Trail Blazers (1): 24
  • Boston Celtics (1): 27
  • Golden State Warriors (1): 28
  • Detroit Pistons (1): 42
  • Houston Rockets (1): 46
  • New Orleans Pelicans (1): 51
  • Miami Heat (0)
  • Toronto Raptors (0)

Options For Grizzlies At No. 4, No. 32

Latest On Pistons’ GM/Front Office Search

The Pistons continue to conduct separate searches for a new head coach and a new head of basketball operations, and while it’s possible they’ll hire a coach sooner rather than later, they prefer to address their front office opening first. That would allow the new head of basketball operations to have a say in the head coaching hire.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski provides an update on Detroit’s front office search today, reporting (via Twitter) that NBA executive VP of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe, Grizzlies executive VP of player personnel Ed Stefanski, Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, and Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon are among the candidates the Pistons are eyeing to run their basketball operations department. Current GM Jeff Bower also remains a candidate to be promoted, Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter).

Most of those executives have received consideration for top front office jobs in the recent past. Rosas, for instance, was cited as a contender for the Hornets’ GM opening this spring. Stefanski was said to be in the mix for the Bucks’ GM vacancy last summer, while Langdon received consideration for the Hawks job around the same time.

In addition to considering those aforementioned candidates for their top basketball operations job, the Pistons are also targeting TNT analyst Brent Barry and Heat director of basketball development and analytics Shane Battier for front office roles, according to Wojnarowski.

Although Bower is currently running the Pistons’ basketball operations department, his contract is set to expire on June 30, so Detroit could end up making several new hires this spring. Should Bower depart, the Pistons may hire a new president of basketball operations, a new GM, and a new head coach.