OG Anunoby

Atlantic Rumors: Miller, Sixers, Dinwiddie, Irving

The small forward spot continues to be a nagging problem for the Raptors, as Michael Grange of SportsNet details. Two-way player Malcolm Miller got a chance to start on Sunday with OG Anunoby sidelined by a sprained ankle, though he only played 14 minutes. Norman Powell has struggled for most of the season, Grange adds. “That position is probably going to be fluid,” coach Dwane Casey told Grange and other media members. “We’ll keep looking at different people. It’s a situation where we’ve got to get a lot of people ready and this is an opportunity to do that.”

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • The owner of the Sixers’ Wells Fargo Center will pump $250MM into the building for renovations, Bob Fernandez of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Comcast Spectacor will make those upgrades over the next three summers, with about 21,500 seats being replaced without affecting any Sixers games. The company chose that plan over tearing it down and building a new facility on the same lot, Fernandez adds.
  • Nets forward DeMarre Carroll has challenged point guard Spencer Dinwiddie to figure out how to coexist with D’Angelo Russell, he revealed to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Dinwiddie hasn’t come close to matching the numbers he put up with Russell sidelined by a knee injury and Carroll is trying to shake Dinwiddie out of his funk. “What toes are you going to step on if you’re helping the team?” Carroll told Lewis. “That Spence was helping our team win a lot of games, so it’s not stepping on toes. … That’s why all of y’all have grown to love Spence, because of the way he’s been playing, attacking the goal, playing with a chip on his shoulder. He’s just got to get back to that Spence, playing like he’s got a chip on his shoulder.”
  • Kyrie Irving has emerged as a stable, consistent leader since he was traded to the Celtics, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBCSports.com opines. Irving has embraced the concept of doing whatever coach Brad Stevens asks of him even if it adversely affects his statistics, Blakely concludes.

Atlantic Notes: James, Smart, Theis, Anunoby

A Philadelphia-based company purchased billboard space near Quicken Loans Arena pleading for LeBron James to sign with the 76ers in free agency this summer. While some may find the gesture as a distraction, James is flattered that in his 15th season, people are still trying to recruit him, Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor writes.

“You can say it’s a distraction, it’s not. Not a distraction,” James said Tuesday morning. “It is actually very flattering that I’m sitting here at 33 and in my 15th year and teams or guys — I don’t want to say teams because that becomes tampering — but people in their respective city want me to play for them. That’s cool I think. That’s dope.”

James will hit unrestricted free agency for the third time this summer and there has been a lot of talk that he is considering a second departure from Cleveland. For his part, James has downplayed every rumor and report surrounding his future and noted that he will personally address his decision at the appropriate time.

Check out other Atlantic Division notes below:

  • The effect of Marcus Smart has been noticeable for the Celtics since the guard’s return to the court. In Boston’s first two victories after the All-Star break, Smart impacted the ball on both sides, prompting Kyrie Irving to acknowledge his teammate’s difference-making abilities, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston relays. “He just adds a lot of versatility to our offense and our defense,” Irving said. “He has a high awareness on both ends. He’s able to create opportunities for all of us at both ends of the floor and we appreciate that.”
  • Daniel Theis has shown improvement all season long and plays the game with maturity beyond his years, Blakely writes in a separate story“He’s been great,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said. “Been what you expect him to be from a skill set standpoint and activity standpoint. But he does it every night. One of the best things you can be called in this league is consistent. And he’s very consistent.”
  • The Raptors‘ recent struggles at the small forward spot may pave the way for a lineup change, Michael Grange of Sportsnet writes. OG Anunoby has been a stable defensive presence, but his offensive shortcomings could force a change.

Atlantic Notes: Noah, Carroll, Nets, Anunoby

The Knicks have played three games since Joakim Noah was reinstated from a 20-game drug-related suspension. The former NBA Defensive Player of the Year has been inactive for all three contests. With three centers ahead of Noah on the Knicks’ depth chart (Enes Kanter, Kyle O’Quinn, and Willy Hernangomez), he is patiently waiting for an opportunity that may never come, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

Noah, 32, signed a four-year, $72MM deal with New York last offseason. That contract has become arguably the most untradeable deal in the NBA, given his declined skillset, recent drug suspension, and high salary. Head coach Jeff Hornacek said he will not change the Knicks’ lineup to insert Noah into the rotation anytime soon. Thus, the former Bulls center has accepted the reality of his predicament.

“Listen, man, you guys understand the situation right now,’’ Noah said. “I’m just trying to be the best that I can be. I don’t know what that is. I’m not playing. I haven’t played in 10 months. I’ve gone through some injuries. I’ve gone through a lot of things. But at the same time this is not — I’m not making an excuse. This is my reality.”

Noah played in 46 games for the Knicks last season, averaging 5.0 PPG, his lowest total in a season where he played at least 30 games. While he does provide some value on defense and he grabbed 8.8 RPG last season, Noah’s best bet to play is if the Knicks cut their losses and stretch him — which we wrote is a possibility earlier this week.

Check out other news across the Atlantic Division:

  • DeMarre Carroll has been a vocal and physical presence for the Nets early this season but his work off-the-court defines his legacy, Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily profiles. Caroll overcame a rare liver disease while he was a college player at Missouri and enjoyed a successful near decade-long NBA career. As Puccio writes, Carroll’s Carroll Family Foundation has been a crucial part of his efforts to help others with his coach and fellow teammates speaking glowingly of the ninth-year forward.
  • Joe Tsai, who purchased a 49% stake in the Nets recently, had reportedly included a unique stipulation in the sale where he refused to cover any losses associated with player contracts. However, a Nets source denied that to NetsDaily and the original report from Bloomberg News has been altered to state that such a provision was discussed but never agreed upon.
  • While P.J. Tucker‘s stint in the Toronto impressed the Raptors, particularly his defensive toughness, head coach Dwane Casey believes the team has another Tucker-type player in OG Anunoby, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes.

Atlantic Notes: Carmelo, Raptors, Anunoby, Kyrie

It appears all but certain at this point that the Knicks will begin training camp with Carmelo Anthony still on their roster, but Anthony’s camp is holding out hope that the team can get a trade done before Monday, writes Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. According to Isola, Anthony and his family have “mentally” moved to Houston, having believed that the Knicks would get a deal done with the Rockets.

Unless the Knicks were bluffing all offseason about their unwillingness to take Ryan Anderson‘s contract in a trade with the Rockets, it doesn’t seem likely that the two teams will get a deal done in the coming days, so we’ll see what happens if and when Anthony has to report to camp with the Knicks.

In the meantime, here are a few more items from around the Atlantic division:

  • Having lost some veteran depth in the offseason, the Raptors will be counting on some young players to step up and claim rotations roles. Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca explores whether those youngsters will be ready to contribute.
  • Within his piece, Lewenberg also notes that the Raptors don’t expect to get injured first-round pick OG Anunoby back on the court until November at the earliest, and writes that the team is taking a “zero tolerance” policy with Bruno Caboclo. Caboclo was removed from Brazil’s national team this summer for refusing to re-enter a game, and Raptors sources cited some behavioral issues in the G League last season as well, says Lewenberg.
  • Following up on Kyrie Irving‘s comments this week on ESPN’s First Take, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders suggests there’s nothing wrong with the new Celtics point guard wanting to get out from under LeBron James‘ shadow and be his own star.
  • Earlier this afternoon, we passed along several comments from Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, including his assertion that the club is “cautiously optimistic” about working out an extension for Joel Embiid.

O’Connor’s Latest: Capela, Smart, Wiggins, Nuggets

Gary Harris (Nuggets), Marcus Smart (Celtics), Jabari Parker (Bucks), and Clint Capela (Rockets) are among the most intriguing players eligible for rookie scale contract extensions this offseason, Kevin O’Connor writes in his latest piece for The Ringer. In addition to going into detail on those four players, who have until October 16 to work out new deals with their respective clubs, O’Connor drops a few other notable tidbits within his article, so let’s round up the highlights…

  • The Rockets and Capela have had “very introductory” discussions on a contract extension, according to O’Connor. Those discussions figure to become more frequent and more in-depth as next month’s extension deadline nears.
  • The general consensus among the league sources O’Connor has talked to is that Smart’s next contract figures to be in the neighborhood of Andre Roberson‘s three-year, $30MM deal, given both players’ defensive prowess and offensive limitations. O’Connor believes the Celtics guard will be able to do better than that though, and I’m inclined to agree. Smart will be a restricted free agent next summer if he’s not extended this offseason.
  • Multiple league sources have told O’Connor that Andrew Wiggins is expected to sign the contract extension offered by the Timberwolves once he gets his new representation in order. Wiggins filed paperwork to part ways with Bill Duffy and BDA Sports shortly after Minnesota put a five-year, maximum salary offer on the table.
  • Multiple sources believe the Nuggets were targeting OG Anunoby in June’s draft when they traded down from No. 13 to No. 24, says O’Connor. Anunoby ended up coming off the board one spot earlier, with Toronto nabbing him at No. 23. Denver used the 24th pick on Tyler Lydon.

Raptors Sign First-Round Pick OG Anunoby

The Raptors have signed OG Anunoby to a rookie scale deal, according to the team’s Twitter feed. The exact terms were not disclosed, but assuming he signed for 120% of the rookie scale, he’ll make slightly more than $9.75MM over the next four seasons.

The small forward suffered a knee injury part way through his sophomore season at Indiana and it certainly impacted his draft spot. He was expected to be a lottery pick coming into the draft process but ended up going No. 23 overall to Toronto.

It’s unlikely that Anunoby is ready to begin the season, though according to an earlier report, he should be able to get on the court at some point before 2018. Toronto’s wing rotation is currently in flux after losing P.J. Tucker in free agency and trading away DeMarre Carroll to the Nets. The Raptors were able to bring in C.J. Miles via a sign-and-trade, but depth arguably still remains the team’s biggest weakness. Anunoby should be able to help with that once he recovers from his injury.

The Missouri native was impressive on the defensive end during his 16 games with the Hoosiers. He had at least one block or steal in every game he played.

Atlantic Notes: Jackson, Ainge, Raptors, Nets, Sixers

After much speculation, the Knicks ultimately decided to select French point guard Frank Ntilikina with the eight pick in the NBA Draft. Names like Dennis Smith Jr. and Malik Monk — both of whom were still available when the Knicks were on the clock — were bypassed in favor of the athletic guard.

As Ian Begley of ESPN writes, team president Phil Jackson spoke about New York’s highly-debated selection and the ability that made the 18-year-old a must-have prospect.

“We like the size of this young man, we like his aptitude for the game, athleticism, actually the ability to incorporate himself in a winning type of a situation,” Jackson said.

New York used its 44th pick on Houston’s Damyean Dotson and its 58th pick on Serbian guard Ognjen Jaramaz. Under Jackson, the Knicks have emphasized selecting European talent and college seniors; with the team looking to build aorund young talent, it’s likely that the 2017 draft picks — particularly Ntilikina — get decent looks next season.

Here are additional notes from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Per Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (via Twitter), the Raptors tried trading up in the draft to select OG Anunoby but were pleasantly surprised when he was still available come the 23rd pick.
  • On a similar note, the Nets liked Michigan’s D.J. Wilson and tried trading up, but did not have the assets to do so, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk (via Twitter). Wilson was taken 17th overall by the Bucks.
  • Despite rumors linking the Celtics to Jimmy Butler, general manager Danny Ainge told reporters, including ESPN’s Chris Forsberg, that no recent discussions to acquire the former Bulls All-Star happened.
  • Per Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly (via Twitter), all of the Sixers‘ international picks are expected to stay overseas next season.
  • After drafting Markelle Fultz this year, Ben Simmons last year, and assembling a drove of young talent, now is the time for Sixers head coach Brett Brown to put together a winning product, Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Cooney writes.

Draft Notes: Jackson, Ball, Ntilikina, Smith

Kansas forward Josh Jackson wanted to work out for the Celtics after they traded for the No. 3 pick, but couldn’t work out the scheduling, tweets Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The Celtics are reportedly deciding between Jackson and Duke forward Jayson Tatum if they decide to keep the pick, and Tatum held a workout in Boston on Monday.

Jackson added that he has spoken to Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown and believes they would form a good combination (Twitter link). The former Jayhawk also disputed a rumor that he refused to work out for the team unless he was promised Boston wouldn’t trade its pick (Twitter link).

There’s more as the top prospects met with the media today in New York:

  • Lonzo Ball confirmed to reporters his only pre-draft meeting was with the Lakers, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. Ball also believes L.A. traded D’Angelo Russell to open up a spot for him and he can see that “the Lakers have a plan.” He adds that the Lakers haven’t promised to take him, relays Adam Zagoria of Fanrag Sports (Twitter link), saying, “We’ll just find out tomorrow night.” Ball also explained why he turned down a session with the Celtics when they had the top pick, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “If it’s either play for the hometown or go No. 1, I’d rather play for the hometown,” Ball said.
  • Frank Ntilikina met with the Knicks front office today, including team president Phil Jackson, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The French point guard, who is reportedly in strong consideration with New York’s No. 8 pick, said the team wanted to meet him in person.
  • Dennis Smith Jr. also met with Jackson and the Knicks front office, Begley relays (Twitter link). The North Carolina State point guard believes he can be effective in the triangle offense.
  • Indiana’s OG Anunoby said doctors have assured him that he can resume basketball activities by October or early November, according to Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link). Anunoby had surgery on his right knee after a season-ending injury in January.
  • Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen was a Timberwolves fan growing up, and Minnesota was among the four teams he worked out for, Fischer tweets. The others were the Mavericks, Celtics and Magic, and he had a meeting with the Knicks.
  • Gonzaga’s Zach Collins had private workouts with the Magic, Wolves, Kings, Mavericks and Suns, and a group session with the Lakers, Fischer relays (Twitter link).
  • Duke’s Luke Kennard held individual workouts for the Lakers, Pistons, Knicks and Mavericks (Twitter link).
  • The Nets and Bulls were among the teams to work out international big man Isaiah Hartenstein leading up to the draft, tweets David Pick.

Ford’s Latest: Lakers, Suns, Kings, Magic, Mavs

Sources in Los Angeles say that the Lakers have been “moving closer and closer” in recent days to making Lonzo Ball their man at No. 2, ESPN’s Chad Ford writes in his latest mock draft (Insider-only link). However, the Suns also have legitimate interest in Ball, and have had conversations with both the Lakers and Celtics about trading up, says Ford. Phoenix has interest in Josh Jackson too, but if both Jackson and Ball come off the board in the top three and the Suns don’t move up, Ford expects Jayson Tatum to be the team’s choice.

Here are several more interesting tidbits from Ford’s latest mock:

  • The Kings have explored moving up to No. 2 or No. 3, with De’Aaron Fox as their target. Ford’s mock suggests Sacramento will have a chance to nab Fox with the No. 5 pick though.
  • The Magic have shown “serious interest” in Jayson Tatum, but Ford thinks he’ll be off the board at No. 6, and has Orlando picking Jonathan Isaac instead.
  • The Knicks and Mavericks both appear to be very high on French point guard Frank Ntilikina. Ford says not to be surprised if Dallas attempts to leapfrog New York by trading up to No. 6 or No. 7 to secure Ntilikina.
  • Ford’s newest mock forecasts a potential fall out of the top 10 for Malik Monk. ESPN’s draft guru suggests that if Monk makes it past the Timberwolves and Knicks, he could slip to the Hornets at No. 11.
  • There has been “a lot of buzz” about the possibility of OG Anunoby landing with the Nuggets, Ford writes. The injured Indiana forward is receiving interest as high as No. 10 (Kings), but Denver would be a good fit, since the Nuggets wouldn’t need him to play right away.
  • The Trail Blazers, who hold three first-round picks, continue to shop around No. 20, per Ford.

Draft Rumors: Jackson, Kennard, Isaac, Smith Jr.

Although foot issues have prevented former Duke guard Frank Jackson from working out for teams in recent weeks, he has been visiting and meeting with several clubs, per Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Deveney reports that the Hawks, Knicks, and Jazz have all brought in Jackson.

Elsewhere in his piece, Deveney provides updates on OG Anunoby and Luke Kennard, writing that the Lakers are holding out hope that Anunoby will fall to them at No. 28, though he’s receiving interest from plenty of teams picking earlier. As for Kennard, one scout who spoke to Deveney wasn’t overly bullish on Kennard’s ability to sneak into the top 10.

“I understand that everyone wants shooters,” the scout said of Kennard. “No one questions that the kid can shoot. But I can’t see him becoming a good defender. You just hope that he develops into a neutral defender, that he does not hurt you. He might go in the lottery in this draft because of the way he can shoot, but in most drafts he is more down in the late teens.”

Here are a few more draft-related rumors and notes from around the league: