Mitchell Robinson

World Cup Notes: Team USA, White, Young

Head coach Gregg Popovich is strongly considering taking 15 players to Australia later this month in advance of the World Cup as opposed to cutting the roster down to a dozen players prior to leaving the country, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. FIBA regulations state that teams can only carry 12 players for the World Cup itself, though the remaining players could simply attend alongside the coaching staff and never suit up.

Here’s more surrounding the World Cup:

  • Spurs guard Derrick White and Kings big man Marvin Bagley III are the strongest contenders to be promoted from the Select Team to Team USA’s primary World Cup roster, tweets Stein. Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher suggests (via Instagram) that White’s promotion has already happened, while Bagley’s is likely.
  • Mitchell Robinson is dealing with a knee injury, as Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. The Knicks center initially suffered the injury over the weekend and returned to practice on Tuesday and re-injured it the following day. A source close to the situation describes the ailment as “just soreness.”
  • Hawks guard Trae Young left Team USA’s training camp because of a minor eye infection, sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Young had been practicing with the Select Team.
  • Chris Boucher has withdrawn from the World Cup for personal reasons, Josh Lewenberg of the TSN tweets. The Raptors big man had been practicing with Canada’s National Team.

Team USA Updates: Millsap, Plumlee, Harrell, Select Team

USA Basketball has issued a press release announcing a series of updates relating to the team it’s putting together for the 2019 World Cup in China, as well as the training camp that will take place in August before that event. Here are the highlights of that announcement:

More withdrawals:

Nuggets big man Paul Millsap has joined the ever-growing list of players from Team USA’s initial 20-man roster who have decided not to participate in this year’s World Cup. As expected, Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love has also withdrawn from Team USA’s 2019 roster.

Millsap and Love join Bradley Beal, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, James Harden, Tobias Harris, Damian Lillard, and CJ McCollum among the original invitees who have removed their names from World Cup consideration.

New invitees:

Team USA confirmed that Thaddeus Young, Marcus Smart, Julius Randle, and Jaylen Brown will join the training camp roster for next month, as previous reports indicated.

In addition to those four players, two big men will join the roster as well, with Clippers center Montrezl Harrell and Nuggets center Mason Plumlee have received invitations from USA Basketball. Assuming the remaining 11 players from the original 20-man roster remain committed, that would bring the roster back up to 17.

[UPDATE: Harrell may turn down his invitation]

Those 11 other players are Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Kyle Kuzma, Brook Lopez, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, P.J. Tucker, Myles Turner, and Kemba Walker.

Select Team:

For the first time, USA Basketball confirmed the players who will make up the Select Team at next month’s training camp in Las Vegas. The members of the 13-man Select Team will practice and scrimmage with Team USA’s training camp invitees, and will be coached by Jeff Van Gundy.

It’s possible that a player could be elevated from the Select Team to the primary roster and eventually find his way onto the 12-man squad that will play in China, but that’s probably a long shot.

The 13 players who will play for the Select Team are as follows:

  1. Jarrett Allen (Nets)
  2. Marvin Bagley III (Kings)
  3. Mikal Bridges (Suns)
  4. Jalen Brunson (Mavericks)
  5. John Collins (Hawks)
  6. Pat Connaughton (Bucks)
  7. De’Aaron Fox (Kings)
  8. Joe Harris (Nets)
  9. Jonathan Isaac (Magic)
  10. Mitchell Robinson (Knicks)
  11. Landry Shamet (Clippers)
  12. Derrick White (Spurs)
  13. Trae Young (Hawks)

Team USA’s training camp will take place during the week of August 5, while the World Cup itself is scheduled to run from August 31 to September 15.

Atlantic Notes: Payton, Raptors, Robinson, Jordan

Elfrid Payton will be given every opportunity to become the Knicks’ starting point guard next season, Ian Begley of SNY TV reports. Payton agreed to a two-year, $16MM deal with a team option for the second season. Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina are the other candidates for the starting role, though the team has shopped Ntilikina, Begley continues. It’s unclear whether the Knicks would consider a backcourt pairing of Payton and Smith, who started at the point after being acquired from the Mavericks last season.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors have to make more roster moves, regardless of whether Kawhi Leonard stays or goes, Blake Murphy of The Athletic notes. They currently have 10 players under standard NBA contracts, one on a two-way and another on an Exhibit 10 deal. With the Raptors’ needs in mind, Murphy takes a deep dive into the options still on the free agent market at each position.
  • Knicks second-year center Mitchell Robinson has been invited to join the Select Team at USA Basketball’s training camp, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps tweets. Robinson averaged 7.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 2.4 BPG in his rookie campaign.
  • The competition between centers Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan will be the biggest preseason battle in Nets’ camp, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Allen, 21, is seemingly a core piece for the franchise but the presence of Jordan, a close friend of Kevin Durant who agreed to a four-year, $40MM contract, creates a potential dilemma. Jordan may have lost a step, Lewis notes, but he’s been a starter throughout his career.

Latest From Charania: Davis, Beal, Irving, Conley, Suns

The Knicks discussed a trade package for Anthony Davis that included Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith, Thursday’s No. 3 overall pick and other draft compensation, but they never fully offered forward Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. The Pelicans weren’t particularly high on either Knox or Robinson anyway but the Knicks were reluctant to jeopardize their future flexibility because they weren’t convinced Davis would re-sign with them.

Contrary to other reports, the Celtics were open to discussing Jayson Tatum and the future first-rounder owed by the Grizzlies in a trade package for Davis but didn’t want to part with both of those assets, Charania continues. Boston’s unwillingness to give up multiple major assets tipped the scale in the Lakers’ favor. The Nets also made a bid, Charania adds, but the Pelicans weren’t enamored with their available assets, especially since the Nets couldn’t include restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell.

Here are more highlights from Charania:

  • The Rockets were willing to get involved in three-team scenarios in Davis trade talks with Clint Capela being dangled.
  • The Pelicans are monitoring the Wizards’ interest in trading All-Star guard Bradley Beal.
  • The Celtics and impending free agent Kyrie Irving will meet soon, possibly before the draft, to discuss his future with the organization.
  • The Grizzlies have ramped up trade talks involving point guard Mike Conley. The Jazz are the leading contenders for Conley’s services.
  • The Suns have discussed moving the No. 6 pick, as well as forwards T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson, in separate trade packages.

Atlantic Notes: Udoka, Knicks, Celtics

As we relayed earlier this week, new Sixers coach Ime Udoka is replacing Monty Williams as lead assistant coach under head man Brett Brown. Unlike Williams, however, Idoka will also be tasked with being the team’s new defensive coordinator next season, writes Rich Hofmann of The Athletic.

Udoka has interviewed unsuccessfully for some head coaching positions over the last couple offseasons in Cleveland, Toronto, Detroit, Charlotte and Orlando, but this new position for the Sixers will still be a promotion for him, as Ettore Messina is the lead assistant in San Antonio.

Getting the opportunity to be a lead assistant may very well increase Udoka’s chances of landing a head coaching role in the near future, especially considering the success that Brown’s other assistants for the Sixers like Lloyd Pierce (Hawks) and Williams (Suns) have had when they had the opportunity to interview for top jobs.

In the meantime, Udoka will oversee a defense that largely underperformed during the 2018/19 season given the talent on the Sixers’ roster.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division this afternoon:

Knicks Notes: Barrett, Walker, Durant, Robinson

Kevin Knox, the Knicks‘ first-round pick last season, is lobbying for R.J. Barrett to get that designation this year, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Knox, who attended Game 4 of the NBA Finals with a small Knicks contingent, may be on hand tomorrow for Barrett’s workout in New York. They have faced each other before as high school opponents in Florida.

“If we get the opportunity (to be teammates), I think we’d jell really well,’’ Knox said. “He’s a great player. He can pass well, score the ball well. I think we’d complement each other.’’

Barrett is generally considered the third best player in the draft and the likely selection for the Knicks with the No. 3 pick. It’s also possible that Knox and Barrett could be teammates with the Pelicans if both are included in a trade for Anthony Davis.

There’s more today from New York:

  • It appears Kemba Walker won’t be the solution for the Knicks’ backcourt, according to Ian Begley of SNY.TV. Rival executives tell Begley they don’t believe going to New York is a likely outcome for Walker if he decides to leave Charlotte. The three-time All-Star recently said that the Hornets are his “first priority” in free agency. They have the ability to offer Walker a five-year super-max deal worth up to $221.3MM, while other teams will be limited to four years at $140.6MM.
  • The Knicks have become so “brazen” in their belief that they are landing Kevin Durant that other free agents are getting upset, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. He states that the organization is behaving as though a deal is already in place, even though Durant has strongly denied making a decision, and the Warriors seem resigned that he will be gone after the playoffs.
  • New York should try to avoid giving up Mitchell Robinson in a trade for Davis, states Zack Rosenblatt of NBA.com. The second-round pick had a remarkable rookie season, averaging 2.4 blocks per night in 66 games. Rosenblatt sees Robinson as a perfect complement to play alongside Davis if the Knicks can make a deal happen without him.

NBA Announces 2018/19 All-Rookie Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-Rookie teams for the 2018/19 season. Luka Doncic of the Mavericks and Trae Young of the Hawks – widely viewed as the only two legit contenders for this season’s Rookie of the Year award – were also the only two players to be unanimously selected to the First Team, receiving 100 out of 100 possible votes.

Suns center Deandre Ayton nearly joined them as another unanimous First Team pick. However, he was listed on the Second Team on five ballots, with 95 First Team votes. Kings forward Marvin Bagley was the only other player to be named on all 100 ballots, receiving 56 First Team votes.

Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. rounded out the First Team, ensuring that all five players in that group were top-five picks in the 2018 draft.

Listed below are the NBA’s All-Rookie teams for 2018/19, with the player’s vote total in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

First Team:

Second Team:

Of the players who missed out on All-Rookie honors, Suns forward Mikal Bridges came the closest, with 31 points, followed by Knicks forward Kevin Knox (22 points). None of the 10 other rookies who earned votes earned more than 12 points, though Josh Okogie (Timberwolves) and Miles Bridges (Hornets) each received one First Team vote.

The full voting results can be found within the NBA’s press release.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Knicks Notes: Durant, Davis, Draft, Ntilikina

The possibility of Kevin Durant signing with the Knicks overshadowed all other topics as NBA executives gathered this week for the annual combine, relays Steve Popper of Newsday. He states that most of those in attendance consider it a “fait accompli” that the Warriors’ star will be coming to New York when free agency begins in July.

The combine was peppered with talk of a secret meeting between the Knicks and Durant and rumors that a “handshake deal” is already in place, along with endorsement opportunities. That would be a blatant violation of NBA rules and a huge risk for the team to take when the opportunity to legally negotiate with Durant is just six weeks away. However, even those who don’t buy into such conspiracy talk seem convinced that a move is on the way.

Explaining why Durant might be willing to leave a potential three-time champion, one unidentified front office executive speculates that he is tired of constant “prodding” from Warriors coach Steve Kerr and believes he will never replace Stephen Curry as the team’s most important player. That opportunity would come instantly in New York, where Knicks fans have been clamoring for a star for years.

There’s more today from New York:

  • Knicks president Steve Mills wouldn’t discuss the possibility of including the No. 3 pick in a deal for Anthony Davis, but he insists the team is happy about its position coming out of Tuesday’s lottery, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Trade talks for Davis remain on hold as Pelicans executive David Griffin tries to convince his star big man to stay with the team, a source tells Berman. Any trade offer for Davis would have to include the two first-rounders from Dallas that were acquired in the Kristaps Porzingis deal, along with two young prospects from a group that includes Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and Frank Ntilikina.
  • Berman considers it a”virtual certainty” that New York will take Duke’s R.J. Barrett if the draft proceeds as expected. The Knicks rate Murray State’s Ja Morant slightly higher, but Memphis is likely to grab him with the second pick. New York’s front office met with both players Wednesday at the combine. The Knicks also own the 55th pick and could target a power forward in the second round.
  • The Knicks are willing to part with Ntilikina in exchange for another late first round or early second round selection, Berman adds. That would open more cap room to pick up the options on Allonzo Trier and Damyean Dotson without jeopardizing the ability to offer to max deals in free agency.

Knicks Notes: Zion, Kyrie, Kemba, Young Players

While Knicks head coach David Fizdale didn’t name the Duke forward specifically, he made it clear during an appearance this week on The Dan Patrick Show that if his team lands the No. 1 overall pick in next week’s draft lottery, Zion Williamson will be the choice.

“If we win the lottery, do we know who we’re taking?” Fizdale said, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. “Yes.”

Of course, if the Knicks do land that first overall selection, speculation about a possible Anthony Davis trade would only increase during the weeks leading up to the draft. Fizdale wasn’t asked about that scenario during his appearance on Patrick’s show, but ESPN’s Kevin Pelton (Insider-only link) took a look this week at whether or not it would make sense to seriously consider moving Williamson if the Knicks grab that No. 1 spot.

In Pelton’s view, trading Williamson in a package for Davis would give the Knicks the best chance to win in the short term, but it’s unclear how well-suited the rest of the roster will be to contending immediately. Since Zion could be a part of a contending team in New York for years to come, Pelton would be inclined to hang onto him if the Knicks are lucky enough to draft him.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Now that Kyrie Irving‘s Celtics have been officially eliminated from the postseason, the Knicks are poised to be a part of the July conversation about the point guard’s potential free agent destinations, as Marc Berman of The New York Post details.
  • Sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv that some members of the Knicks’ organization on high on another free agent point guard, Kemba Walker. However, that interest likely wouldn’t matter much if Kevin Durant commits to New York and wants to team up with Irving, says Begley. According to Begley, some opposing executives believe that the Knicks will be willing to pursue any player Durant wants to play with if it ensures that KD will choose New York.
  • The Knicks will send their assistant coaches on the road in the coming days to work out with young players like Allonzo Trier, Mitchell Robinson, and Dennis Smith Jr., sources tell Begley. Kevin Knox and head coach David Fizdale have already met up for some offseason work, as the team has exhibited an increased focus on developing its prospects.

Eastern Notes: Wizards, Robinson, Celtics

Bradley Beal making the league’s All-NBA team could change the course of the Wizards‘ franchise, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports writes. If Beal earns the nod, then he will be eligible for a super-max contract that starts at 35% of the salary cap.

[Related: How All-NBA Choices Impact Contract Situations]

There’s no guarantee that Washington offers that kind of deal to Beal if the organization gains the ability to do so. It’s also not certain that Beal would accept it. Hughes argues the Wizards will be left with no choice but to trade Beal if they decide against offering the super-max contract or Beal opts against accepting it.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Many within the NBA believe Mitchell Robinson possesses the highest ceiling of any current member of the Knicks, Marc Stein of The New York Times writes in his latest newsletter. Stein compares Robinson’s potential to Clint Capela‘s game, writing that Robinson could become better than the Rockets big man.
  • Rookie Allonzo Trier didn’t hear his name called on draft night but Stein (in the same piece) believes that was a mistake. Trier played in 64 games for the Knicks this season.
  • The Celtics brought in Cam Johnson (North Carolina), Quinndary Weatherspoon (Mississippi State) and Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech) for workouts, according to Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). Boston could end up with as many as four first-round picks in the upcoming draft.