Mouhammadou Jaiteh

And-Ones: Thunder, Grizzlies, Antic

The Thunder have been shopping Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb and Steve Novak, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweets. Oklahoma City, which has $78.26MM in guaranteed salary commitments for next season, is seeking financial relief but it is also seeking a draft pick, Mannix adds. The Thunder already have picks at No. 14 and No. 48.
In other news around the league:
  • The Knicks, Kings and Hornets are the teams most likely to trade out of the Top 10 in the draft, Mannix reports in a separate tweet.
  • Guards Andre Hollins and Deville Smith and forwards Nino Johnson and Aaron White worked out for the Grizzlies on Monday, completing the team’s predraft workouts, according to Grizzlies.com.
  • R.J. Hunter, Anthony Brown, Olivier Hanlan, Christian Wood, Sir’Dominic Porter and Mouhammadou Jaiteh will work out for the Wizards on Tuesday, according to J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. (Twitter link).
  • Fenerbahce of the Turkish League is interested in signing Hawks free agent center Pero Antic, according to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia.

Central Notes: Pistons, Vaughn, Cavs

The Pistons are not expecting their lottery pick to become a starter next season but they will keep the pick unless they get a superstar talent, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com reports. Coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy told the team’s beat reporters on Monday that with ample cap space — approximately $20MM even after the Ersan Ilyasova deal — that he’ll fill the starting small forward vacancy through free agency or a trade, Langlois continues. Tayshaun Prince, the starting small forward during the second half of last season, is an unrestricted free agent. Van Gundy virtually shut the door on reports that the Pistons were shopping the No. 8 overall pick, including one on Monday about a possible deal with the Knicks for guard Tim Hardaway Jr., Langlois adds. “The one thing we are firm on is – minus a superstar being available – we won’t trade out of the draft,” Van Gundy said. “For your salary structure and everything else, it’s too important. It’s probably unlikely that we trade back, but it’s not impossible.”

In other news around the Central Division

  • Van Gundy acknowledged during the same press conference that he was “not entirely optimistic” about retaining unrestricted free agent Greg Monroe, the Associated Press reports. Though Van Gundy indicated it wasn’t a foregone conclusion, Monroe is expected to find a starting job elsewhere. The trade for Ilyasova gives the Pistons a starting-caliber power forward to replace him.
  • Shooting guard Rashad Vaughn was among six players brought in by the Bucks in their final pre-draft workout, according to the team’s website. Vaughn is rated No. 19 on ESPN Insider Chad Ford’s Top 100 prospects list, twice as high as DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony, who pegs him at No. 38.  The group consisted of mostly late first-round and second-round prospects, including centers Mouhammadou Jaiteh and Josh Smith (Georgetown) and forwards Christian Wood, Cody Larson and J.P. Tokoto. The Bucks own the No. 17 and No. 46 picks in the draft.
  • Syracuse center Rakeem Christmas was part of a group workout with the Cavaliers on Monday, according to Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops (Twitter link). Christmas is rated No. 34 on Ford’s board and No. 43 by Givony. The Cavs hold the No. 24 and No. 53 selections on Thursday.

Pistons Notes: Kaminsky, Turner, Jaiteh

Frank Kaminsky and Myles Turner worked out for the Pistons on Saturday, a sign that the team is open to trading its lottery pick at No. 8 overall, Terry Foster of the Detroit News opines. The Pistons acquired a starting caliber power forward this month in Ersan Ilyasova, making it somewhat curious that they would work out two power forwards at this stage who are expected to be drafted in the 11-16 range, Foster continues. They could also swing a deal for the Knicks’ pick at No. 4,  which would allow them to secure either Justise Winslow or Mario Hezonja, who are considered to be the top small forwards in the draft, Foster adds.
In other draft news regarding the Pistons:
  • Detroit also brought in point guards Travis Trice, T.J. McConnell and Kenneth Smith and center  Mouhammadou Jaiteh on Saturday to wrap up its scheduled pre-draft workouts, according to David Mayo of MLive.com. The Pistons worked out 51 players, including likely first-rounders Devin Booker, Sam Dekker, Stanley Johnson, Kevon Looney, Kelly Oubre, Bobby Portis and Winslow, as well as Kaminsky and Turner, while guard Terran Petteway was the only player who worked out twice, Mayo reports.
  • Jaiteh plans to leave the French league and play in the NBA next season if he’s drafted, Mayo writes in a separate piece. “My goal is to join the team next year,” Jaiteh said to the Detroit media. “I’ve had three years now playing overseas pro. I really earned some experience, some maturity, and I think if I want to keep improving fast, I think the best is to be around the best players in the world, with the best coaches. That’s why I want to join the team this year and fight for it.”
  • If the Pistons move down in the first round, Boston would appear to be a likely trading partner, Mayo speculates in his weekly mailbag story. The Celtics have two first rounders at No. 16 and No. 28, but in Mayo’s thinking the Pistons would probably be more interested in a package of the No. 16 pick and a second-rounder with a non-guaranteed contract, rather than swapping for both first rounders. The Pistons probably don’t have the assets to move up from No. 8 and in all likelihood will retain the pick, Mayo concludes.

NBA Draft Withdrawal Deadline Updates

The deadline for college underclassmen to pull out of the draft and retain NCAA eligibility was way back on April 12th, but the NBA’s deadline isn’t until 4:00pm Central time today. That means that prospects from overseas who aren’t automatically draft-eligible finally have a decision to make. It’s possible that an early entrant from college or two will pull out, too, though that would force them to play in the D-League or overseas next season.

We’ll be tracking news of each player withdrawing from the draft today with this post, and we’ll pass along news about players deciding to stay in the draft here, too. A few reports came in over the recent days and weeks — Cyprus-born small forward Aleksandar Vezenkov is expected to withdraw, and so will German forward Paul Zipser, while South Korean center Jong-Hyun Lee is staying in the draft — but if the narrative changes on them, we’ll note it.

A few prospects changed their minds in the hours leading up to the deadline last year, so we’ll transfer names from one list below to the other if that happens again. Once it’s all settled, we’ll update our early entrants list with the final account as the draft, set for a week from Thursday, approaches.

So, here’s our list as it stands now. We’ll update it and bump it to the top of our home page as new information comes in.

Withdrawing from the draft

  • Brazilian point guard George de Paula, aka George Lucas, has left the draft, tweets Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.
  • Rade Zagorac, a Serbian small forward is out of the draft, agent Misko Raznatovic says, as Givony reports (Twitter link).
  • Russian center Andrey Desyatnikov will withdraw from the draft, according to the ASM Sports Agency, Givony tweets.
  • Nedim Buza, a small forward from Bosnia and Herzegovina, will pull out of the draft, Givony tweets.
  • Combo forward Lucas Dias, aka Lucas Dias Silva, and small forward Humberto Gomes, both from Brazil, have withdrawn from the draft, according to their agent, as Givony tweets.
  • Point guard Miroslav Pasajlic, shooting guard Dusan Kutlesic and center Djoko Salic, all from Serbia, are pulling out of the draft, agent Alex Raskovic tells Givony (Twitter link).
  • Another Serbian, center Marko Tejic, will also withdraw from the draft, Raznatovic tells Givony (Twitter link).
  • Vladislav Korenyuk, a Ukrainian center, will pull out of the draft, agent Saulius Svetkauskas confirmed to Oleksandr Proshuta of basket-planet.com (Twitter link; hat tip to Givony).
  • Brazilian shooting guard Danilo Fuzaro will withdraw, agent Vinicius Fontana tells Givony (Twitter link).
  • Moussa Diagne, a center from Senegal, is out of the draft, according to agent Herb Rudoy, as Givony tweets.
  • French power forward Alexandre Chassang will pull out of the draft, according to agent Pedja Materic, Givony tweets.
  • Big man Alpha Kaba of France won’t keep his name in, either, Materic says, as Givony relays (Twitter link).
  • Swingman Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, another Frenchman, is also coming off the early-entrant list, Materic tells Givony (Twitter link).
  • Simone Fontecchio, a small forward from Italy, is pulling out of the draft, a source told Daniele Labanti of Corriere di Bologna (Twitter link).
  • French small forward Kevin Harley has decided to come off the draft board, agent Olivier Mazet tweets (hat tip to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia).
  • Latvian center Andzejs Pasecniks is withdrawing from the draft, agent Artūrs Kalnītis tweets (hat tip to Givony).

Remaining in the draft

  • It’s no surprise, but Latvian power forward Kristaps Porzingis and Croatian shooting guard Mario Hezonja, both candidates to become top-10 picks, will stay in the draft, tweets Chad Ford of ESPN.com.
  • Guillermo Hernangomez, a center from Spain, will stick on this year’s early entrants list, according to the ASM Sports Agency, tweets Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.
  • Serbian point guard Nikola Radicevic is staying in the draft, agent Alex Raskovic said to Givony (Twitter link).
  • Mouhammadou Jaiteh, a center from France, will remain draft-eligible, agent Herman Manakyan tells Givony (Twitter link).
  • Serbian center Nikola Milutinov will stay in the draft, agent Marc Fleisher says, according to Givony (on Twitter).
  • Satnam Singh, a center from India, is keeping his name on the draft list, agent Travis King tells Givony (Twitter link).
  • Macedonian-born small forward Cedi Osman will stay in the draft, tweets Can Pelister of Trendbasket.
  • Greek power forward Dimitrios Agravanis is staying in the draft, tweets agent Georgios Dimitropoulos (hat tip to Givony).

Western Notes: Calathes, Jazz, McCullough

Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes has insisted that he prefers to remain in the NBA, but rumors continue to signal that his camp is soliciting his services overseas, as David Pick of Eurobasket.com hears that he’s seeking a $3.5MM annual salary from international clubs (Twitter link). Calathes can become a restricted free agent this summer if Memphis tenders him a qualifying offer worth $1,147,276.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Jazz have two sets of workouts scheduled for tomorrow, the team announced (Twitter links). The first group consists of Jonathan Holmes (Texas), Gabriel Olaseni (Iowa), Charles Jackson (Tennessee Tech), Kenneth Smith (Louisiana Tech), J.J. O’Brien (San Diego State), and Marcus Thornton (William and Mary).
  • The second group working out for the Jazz on Saturday will be comprised of Jerian Grant (Notre Dame), Trey Lyles (Kentucky), Olivier Hanlan (Boston College), Mouhammadou Jaiteh (France), Cady Lalanne (UMass), and Myles Turner (Texas).
  • The Mavericks brought in Syracuse forward Chris McCullough for an interview on Thursday, Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops tweets.
  • The Thunder will bring in Tennessee swingman Josh Richardson on Saturday as part of a group workout, Scotto relays (Twitter link).

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Divac, Grizzlies, Pack

One of the strangest aspects of the Kings‘ hiring of Vlade Divac as the team’s president of basketball and franchise operations is that no one but Divac and team owner Vivek Ranadive actually understood he’d be in a powerful basketball operations position until a few days after the announcement, Tom Ziller of SBNation writes. It was assumed that because Divac had extremely limited prior front office experience, he would be more of a figurehead than being actively involved in personnel decisions, Ziller notes. There were even members of Sacramento’s front office who didn’t realize that Divac had the power to make personnel moves until Divac and Randive relayed that information to the media, the SBNation scribe adds.

Here’s more out of the Western Conference:

  • The Grizzlies have workouts scheduled on Sunday for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Arizona), Cady Lalanne (Massachusetts), Denzel Livingston (Incarnate Word), Norman Powell (UCLA), J.P. Tokoto (North Carolina), and Maurice Walker (Minnesota), the team announced via a press release.
  • The Nuggets are expected to work out Murray State point guard Cameron Payne, who is rocketing up draft boards, this Monday, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post tweets.
  • Robert Pack has signed on to be an assistant on the staff of new Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link).
  • Working out for the Suns today were Bryce Dejean-Jones (Iowa State), Mouhammadou Jaiteh (France), Derrick Marks (Boise State), Michael Qualls (Arkansas), Chasson Randle (Stanford), and TaShawn Thomas (Oklahoma), Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic notes (Twitter links). Qualls suffered an undisclosed injury during the workout, Coro relays, and was replaced by Polish guard Mateusz Ponitka.
  • The Kings have added John Welch and Chad Iske as assistants on George Karl‘s coaching staff, Spears reports (on Twitter). Both men were previously with Karl when he coached in Denver, Spears adds.

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Wade, Bucks

The Knicks are involved in active discussions to acquire a late first round or early second round pick in this year’s NBA Draft, Shams Charania of RealGM.com reports. New York is offering cash considerations in return for any available selections, Charania notes. The team has worked out several players, including France’s Mouhammadou Jaiteh, selling the potential that the team will push hard to acquire a pick in their projected draft range, the RealGM scribe adds.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • A friend of Dwyane Wade has said that the Heat‘s preference is to sign the guard to a three year deal worth $36MM, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. The salary structure would be $16MM for 2015/16, and then $10MM for each of the remaining seasons, Jackson adds. These figures are quite a difference from the three-year, $60MM deal that Wade is reported to be seeking, the Herald scribe notes.
  • Arizona forward Stanley Johnson has a workout scheduled on Saturday with the Knicks, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com relays (All Twitter links).
  • The Bucks held workouts today for Troran Brown (University of Montevallo), Nedim Buza (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Lucas Dias (Brazil), Alex Marzette (Robert Morris), Aaron Thomas (Florida State), and Greg Whittington (Georgetown), the team announced.
  • Bucks coach Jason Kidd still holds a small ownership stake in the Nets a year after parting ways with the franchise, Robert Windrem of NetsDaily relays (Twitter links). Though Kidd owns less than 1% of the team, the league still wants him to dispose of the stock, Windrem adds.
  • Notre Dame forward Pat Connaughton has a workout scheduled with the Knicks, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com tweets.

Northwest Notes: Jokic, Tomic, Winslow

Nikola Jokic has been making it known he’s on his way to the Nuggets for next season, as David Pick of Eurobasket.com hears (Twitter link). The Serbian whom Denver took 41st overall last year intends to join the Nuggets, as Pick reported earlier, after spending this past season as a draft-and-stash prospect. It’s unclear just what sort of terms it’ll take to make that happen, as Pick reported last month that Jokic was insistent upon a long-term deal. There’s more on another draft-and-stash big man amid the latest from around the Northwest Division:

  • Ante Tomic is apparently once more leaning toward a multiyear extension with Barcelona of Spain, sources tell Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia.  Utah’s draft-and-stash center was reportedly set to ink a three-year extension with Barcelona as of April, but he’s yet to do so, and earlier he wouldn’t rule out signing with the Jazz. Last week, he appeared thoroughly undecided on his future.
  • The Nuggets are indeed working out Justise Winslow on Wednesday, the team announced, confirming a report from Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post, who said that the team was expected to audition the Duke small forward.
  • The Blazers brought in Virginia small forward Justin Anderson, Connecticut point guard Ryan Boatright, French center Mouhammadou Jaiteh, Arizona point guard T.J. McConnell, and Maryland shooting guard Dez Wells for a predraft workout today, the team announced (Twitter link). Arizona small forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, as Jabari Young of CSNNW.com previously reported, is also a part of the workout.
  • The Jazz will hire Hawks strength and conditioning coach Jeff Watkinson as an assistant coach, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer confirmed Watkinson is leaving the team to rejoin Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, whom Watkinson used to work with on the Hawks and at the University of Missouri, as Vivlamore details.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Mavs, Grizzlies

The Pelicans and Celtics assistant coach Darren Erman have an agreement in principle for Erman to join Alvin Gentry‘s coaching staff in New Orleans, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported overnight that the Pelicans were aggressively pursuing Erman, a detail-oriented defensive whiz who complements Gentry’s offensive acumen. The Raptors also recently made a run at Erman, sources told Wojnarowski. New Orleans is poised to hire Thunder assistant coach Robert Pack for Gentry’s staff, too, as Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times hears (Twitter link). However, Wojnarowski, whose story appeared later, writes that the Pelicans and Pack are in talks but makes no mention of a deal. Regardless, new Thunder head coach Billy Donovan is unlikely to keep Pack on his staff, Wojnarowski adds. Here’s more from around the Southwest Division:

  • San Diego State small forward Dwayne Polee worked out for the Mavericks late last month, as he tells Zach Links of Hoops Rumors (Twitter link). Michigan State’s Travis Trice, Stanford’s Chasson Randle, Dayton’s Jordan Sibert and Harvard point guard Wesley Saunders showed off for Dallas today, tweets Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops.
  • Big men highlight the Grizzlies workout scheduled for Wednesday, with Kentucky center Dakari Johnson and French center Mouhammadou Jaiteh on the docket, writes Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal in a subscription-only piece. Centers Youssou Ndoye from St. Bonaventure and Charles Jackson from Tennessee Tech, Connecticut point guard Ryan Boatright and Boise State shooting guard Derrick Marks are the others in the workout, as Tillery details.
  • Florida’s Michael Frazier is auditioning for the Spurs today, Scotto reports, and the team will also get a look at North Carolina’s J.P. Tokoto, according to Pincus (Twitter links).
  • Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders adds the Rockets to the list of teams working out N.C. State shooting guard Trevor Lacey (Twitter link).

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Heat, Pierce

The Hawks are optimistic about their chances to bounce back next season despite the sting of having been eliminated from the playoffs by Miami, Paul Newberry of The Associated Press writes. ”It’s clear that we have some work to do as a team,” center Al Horford said. ”We will all learn from this process and I know it will make us a better team. We have a group that’s resilient. We have a group with a lot of high-character guys, guys that I’m willing to go to war with any day.”

If Atlanta decides not to reinstate GM Danny Ferry, coach Mike Budenholzer could take on an expanded role in player personnel matters, likely assisted by assistant GM Wes Wilcox, in an arrangement similar to the one in San Antonio between coach Gregg Popovich and GM R.C. Buford, Newberry adds. Budenholzer would like the team to add a rim-protecting big man to the mix for next season after being pushed around on the inside during the playoffs, the AP scribe notes.

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat held workouts on Tuesday for Rondae-Hollis Jefferson, Rashad Vaughn, Charles Jackson, and Mouhammadou Jaiteh, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reports. The team was especially impressed with Vaughn’s showing, Jackson tweets.
  • Working out today for the Heat was potential lottery pick Sam Dekker, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. The former Wisconsin forward is who Miami is projected to select in Hoops Rumors’ most recent mock draft.
  • Paul Pierce had as much of an impact on the Wizards‘ locker room culture as he did with his production on the court, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post writes in his season review for the veteran. Pierce has a player option for 2015/16 worth $5,543,725, though it’s unclear if he’ll retire, or possibly look to join the Clippers and his former coach Doc Rivers.
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