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Indiana’s Thomas Bryant To Remain In Draft

Thomas Bryant, a sophomore center from Indiana, will sign with an agent and remain in the NBA draft, according to Evan Daniels of Scout.com.

The 6’10” Bryant declared for the draft April 11th, but wasn’t sure until now whether he planned to stay in. He informed new Hoosiers coach Archie Miller of his intentions today, Daniels reports.

Bryant is ranked 42nd on the DraftExpress list of Top 100 prospects and 45th by Chad Ford of ESPN.com. He averaged 12.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game this season.

Bryant was among the players invited to the draft combine next month in Chicago.

Invitations Issued For May Draft Combine

Earlier today, we passed on Lonzo Ball‘s decision to skip the draft combine, which will be held May 9-14 in Chicago. The UCLA point guard, who is expected to be among the first three players selected, may not be there, but Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com has compiled a list of known invitees.

Alphabetically, they are:

Bam Adebayo, Kentucky

Rawle Alkins, Arizona*

Jarrett Allen, Texas

Kadeem Allen, Arizona

Ike Anigbogu, UCLA

OG Anunoby, Indiana

Dwayne Bacon, Florida State

Lonzo Ball, UCLA

Jordan Bell, Oregon

Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson

Tony Bradley, North Carolina*

Isaiah Briscoe, Kentucky

Dillon Brooks, Oregon

Thomas Bryant, Indiana*

John Collins, Wake Forest

Zach Collins, Gonzaga

Hamidou Diallo, Kentucky*

Tyler Dorsey, Oregon

Damyean Dotson, Houston

P.J. Dozier, South Carolina

Jawun Evans, Oklahoma State

De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky

Markelle Fultz, Washington

Harry Giles, Duke

Josh Hart, Villanova

Isaiah Hicks, North Carolina

Jonathan Isaac, Florida State

Wesley Iwundu, Kansas State

Frank Jackson, Duke*

Josh Jackson, Kansas

Justin Jackson, Maryland*

Justin Jackson, North Carolina

Andrew Jones, Texas*

Luke Kennard, Duke

Kyle Kuzma, Utah*

T.J. Leaf, UCLA

Tyler Lydon, Syracuse

Lauri Markkanen, Arizona

Frank Mason, Kansas

Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina

Eric Mika, BYU*

Donovan Mitchell, Louisville*

Monte Morris, Iowa State

Malik Monk, Kentucky

Johnathan Motley, Baylor*

Semi Ojeleye, SMU*

Cam Oliver, Nevada*

Justin Patton, Creighton

Davon Reed, Miami

Devin Robinson, Florida

Kobi Simmons, Arizona

Dennis Smith Jr., N.C. State

Edmond Sumner, Xavier

Caleb Swanigan, Purdue*

Jayson Tatum, Duke

Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina

Melo Trimble, Maryland

Moritz Wagner, Michigan*

Thomas Welsh, UCLA

Derrick White, Colorado

Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga

D.J. Wilson, Michigan*

Omer Yurtseven, NC State*

*-participating in five-on-five action

Alternates, according to Goodman, are Deng Adel of Louisville, Chris Boucher of Oregon,
Trevon Bluiett of Xavier, L.J. Peak of Georgetown and Derrick Walton of Michigan.

The annual event gives potential draftees an opportunity to work out for teams, conduct interviews and undergo medical tests. Players have until May 24th to withdraw from the draft if they don’t like what they hear at the combine.

Scola Doesn’t See Himself Returning To NBA

In an interview with TSN 1050 Toronto, former Raptors forward Luis Scola said that he doesn’t see himself playing another season in the NBA. The 36-year-old didn’t rule it out altogether, however.

Over the course of 10 seasons, the big man established himself as a consistently underrated threat, his best year as a pro being the 2010/11 campaign in which he averaged 18.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for the Rockets.

In 2016/17, Scola played sparingly for the Nets, an anticlimatic cap on an effective, if unspectacular NBA career.

Although he never earned any All-Star appearances, the big man rode a deft shooting stroke to solid career per-36 numbers and even an Olympic gold medal when he teamed with Manu Ginobili to lead Argentina in 2004.

Alas, given the ever changing NBA landscape, especially for relatively slow big men, Scola seems pretty convinced that he won’t be back playing professional basketball stateside.

I like to play, it’s just that the NBA  became too difficult for me,” Scola said, age no doubt also being a factor for the man who didn’t arrive in the NBA until age 27. “The roles that are out there for me just aren’t as appealing, I don’t enjoy them as much.

Paul Millsap Says He’ll ‘Likely’ Opt Out

Less than a day after Atlanta’s exit from the postseason, Hawks forward Paul Millsap admitted that he’ll “most likely” opt out of his upcoming player option for the 2017/18 season, says Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

After making $20.1MM in 2016/17, Millsap will turn down the player option that would have paid him $21.5MM in 2017/18.

The 32-year-old was involved in a substantial amount of trade rumors and speculation this year but ultimately stayed in Atlanta where he helped guide the Hawks to their 10th consecutive playoff berth.

The Hawks appeared to be headed toward an inevitable rebuild before ultimately choosing to hang on to their cornerstone and risk losing him for nothing as opposed to dealing him for parts.

Although there is the possibility that Millsap ends up back in Atlanta, he’ll command considerable attention on the market after averaging 18.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game for the Hawks.

Lonzo Ball Will Not Attend Combine

The possible top pick in this year’s draft won’t be attending the combine, says Shams Charania of The Vertical. Lonzo Ball formally told the league he would not participate and several other top prospects are expected to do the same.

As The Vertical’s Bobby Marks explains in a tweet, more and more top picks are refusing to partake in the event, a growing trend over the course of the past five season. Just last season, Ben Simmons refused to participate with no impact on his draft position.

Previously, Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins all refused to attend the combine.

Without standardized combine results, teams are on their own to gather medical information about the prospects. Last year, Derek Bodner of USA Today explained what exactly the event consists of.

Dante Cunningham Declines Player Option

Forward Dante Cunningham has declined his player option with the Pelicans, Chris Haynes of ESPN tweets. The 30-year-old veteran will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

In 66 games for the Pels this season, Cunningham averaged 6.6 points per game. Although he’s never been much of a focal point during his three seasons in New Orleans, he’s established himself as a reliable rotation player.

Given that the veteran made just $3.0MM last season and was slated for only a modest raise in 2017/18 ($3.1MM), it’s no surprise that Cunningham opted out of the deal.

It’s not clear how much interest he’ll draw on the market but he’s a valuable addition to any club looking to add a consistent veteran, including the Pelicans themselves should they wish to pursue a new deal with the forward.

Magic Plan To Offer David Griffin Top Front Office Job

The Magic continue to focus on Cavaliers general manager David Griffin in their search for a top basketball executive, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, who reports that Orlando intends to offer Griffin a position as the club’s president of basketball operations.

[RELATED: Magic fire GM Rob Hennigan]

Griffin’s contract with the Cavs expires at the end of this season. However, as Windhorst notes, the Magic won’t be able to engage Griffin in contract discussions until Cleveland is eliminated from the playoffs — or wins the NBA Finals.

Orlando’s interest in Griffin was first reported last week by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, who suggested that extension talks between the Cavaliers and their GM have been “stalled for months.” Wojnarowski noted at the time that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has been reluctant to offer his general manager a contract on par with other championship-level NBA executives, but Windhorst writes that Griffin still may end up staying in Cleveland on a new deal.

Griffin has played a major role in building the roster that won the championship a year ago, and LeBron James has endorsed retaining the veteran executive, so it would be somewhat surprising if the Cavs let him get away.

If Orlando is unable to land Griffin, the team figures to turn to a list of candidates that reportedly includes Kevin McHale, Matt Lloyd, David Morway, Pat Garrity, and Travis Schlenk, among others.

Bulls To Hold Post-Playoff Meeting With Butler

The Bulls plan to meet with Jimmy Butler after the playoffs to express their support for keeping him, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times.

The session will be separate from routine exit interviews, and Cowley describes it as an attempt to repair a deteriorating relationship. John Paxson, the team’s vice president of basketball operations, will attend the meeting, but it’s uncertain if GM Gar Forman will be there.

Butler was reportedly angered after hearing his name mentioned in trade rumors around the deadline and last year’s draft. He received a $95MM contract extension two years ago, but never felt like the team really committed to him.

 He was also upset when Paxson said in a press conference after the trade deadline, “You build with players. We are building with Jimmy right now.’’ Butler became determined to lead the Bulls to the playoffs and show the front office that he was the type of player to build around, not just with.

A source told Cowley that Butler has communicated to the front office and to teammates that he wants to stay in Chicago. He is expected to repeat that sentiment in the upcoming meeting, with a warning that the Bulls should stop leaking his name in trade rumors if they really want to keep him.

Butler is signed for two more seasons with a $19.84MM player option in 2019/20.

Magic Considering Kevin McHale As President

Hall of Famer Kevin McHale is among the candidates to become team president in Orlando, according to Sam Amick of USA Today.

The TNT analyst would bring plenty of experience to the position. He served as president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves from 1995 to 2008, and twice took over as the team’s coach. His last NBA job was as coach of the Rockets from 2011 to 2015.

The Magic are hoping to hire someone with previous GM experience to fill the president’s role. However, McHale is also being considered for a front office position in Minnesota.

Orlando also has strong interest in Cavaliers GM David Griffin, who is not signed beyond this season. That explains why the process has gone so slowly since Rob Hennigan was fired April 13th, as the Magic have hired a search firm but have not spoken to any candidates. Griffin isn’t expected to discuss the job in Orlando until Cleveland’s playoff run is complete.

Amick adds that interim GM Matt Lloyd remains a candidate to keep that post on a permanent basis.

Tony Allen Not Looking To “Break The Bank” In Free Agency

While cornerstone pieces like Mike Conley and Marc Gasol remain under contract for multiple years, the Grizzlies will see some key players hit the open market this summer, including Tony Allen. Speaking today to the media after Memphis was eliminated from the postseason, Allen said he’s “not trying to break the bank” in free agency and is “confident” he’ll return to the Grizzlies, per Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link).

Allen had previously expressed a desire to stay in Memphis, likening the possibility of leaving to a “divorce” and suggesting that he didn’t want to think about that scenario. At the time, the veteran guard said that he’ll always be a Memphian even if he doesn’t re-sign with the club.

Allen, 35, is coming off his 13th NBA season, and has spent the last seven of those years in Memphis. His production has remained remarkably consistent during that seven-year stretch — he has never averaged fewer than 8.4 PPG or more than 9.8 PPG, and continues to provide the club with solid defense on the wing, though he missed the end of this season – and the playoffs – due to a calf injury.

Allen’s salaries during that stretch have also been fairly consistent. He earned $3MM in his first season with the Grizzlies back in 2010/11, and has seen that figure rise a little each year — he made about $5.5MM in 2016/17.

With nearly $93MM in guaranteed salary already on their books for 2017/18, the Grizzlies won’t have the flexibility to use cap room if they intend to re-sign Allen and/or Zach Randolph. Still, they hold Allen’s Bird rights, allowing them to offer him anything up to the max. Despite Allen’s assertion that he’d not looking to “break the bank,” another modest raise seems fair if he intends to remain in Memphis.

JaMychal Green, who is eligible for restricted free agency this summer, also said today that he hopes to return to the Grizzlies, indicating that Memphis “feels like home” for him (Twitter link via Tillery).

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