Magic 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.

Combine Notes: Young, Carter, Knox, Walker, Bowen

Trae Young claims the Sixers are interested in him, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The Oklahoma freshman point guard was interviewed by Philadelphia at the NBA draft combine. “They are looking for a playmaker all-around,” Young said. “I know they are interested in me. But you never know how things will fall.”

Given the composition of the Sixers’ roster, it’s hard to see how Young would fit in. They have budding superstar Ben Simmons and last year’s No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz along with valuable backup T.J. McConnell to share the ballhandling duties. The Sixers hold the No. 10 and No. 26 picks in the first round and Young is currently ranked No. 6 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, so Philadelphia would likely have to move up to draft him if the interest is genuine.

In other combine developments:

  • Duke center Wendell Carter Jr. and Kentucky forward Kevin Knox met with the Knicks on Friday, Al Iannazzone of Newsday reports. The Knicks own the No. 9 pick. Carter is ranked No. 7 by Givony while Knox is listed at No. 15.
  • Carter also interviewed with the Bulls, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets, and the Sixers, according to Pompey. The Bulls have the No. 7 pick.
  • Miami shooting guard Lonnie Walker met with the Magic, Bulls, Sixers and Knicks, all teams with Top 10 selections, Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype tweets. The Clippers, who hold picks 12 and 13, are also interested in Walker, Kalbrosky adds. Walker is ranked No. 14 by Givony but those meetings could indicate that he’ll go higher in draft day.
  • The Trail Blazers interviewed forward Brian Bowen, who sat out last season after his controversial recruitment by Louisville, Jason Quick of NBCSNorthwest tweets. Bowen is still mulling whether to attend South Carolina or remain in the draft, Quick adds. Bowen barely cracks Givony’s Top 100 at No. 96.
  • Top point guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Collin Sexton and Young were interviewed by the Suns, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic relays. Phoenix has the No. 1 and No. 16 selections. Texas center Mohamed Bamba, Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and Carter are some of the other prominent players who met with the Suns.

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:

Magic Hope To Land Impact Player With Sixth Pick

  • The Magic have been riding some hard luck in recent years and drawing the sixth overall pick in the draft was just the latest instance, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Players such as Marvin Bagley III, Mohamed Bamba, and Luka Doncic will all likely be off the board when Orlando’s pick comes around.
  • While those big names may not be available when their pick rolls around, the Magic still believe they will select an impact player at No. 6, NBA.com’s John Denton writes.

Three NBA Head Coaching Searches Still Active

Not a single NBA team made a head coaching change during the 2017 offseason, but the market has course-corrected so far in 2018. Already, five clubs – the Suns, Knicks, Hawks, Hornets, and Bucks – have reached agreements with new head coaches since the regular season ended, with a sixth club (the Grizzlies) elevating its interim head coach to the permanent role.

While those six teams have completed their coaching searches, there are more changes still to come, as three other clubs remain on the lookout for new head coaches. Here’s the latest on those searches:

Detroit Pistons

We haven’t heard much yet about the Pistons’ search for a new head coach, but that makes sense, since the club is also in the market for a new head of basketball operations — Stan Van Gundy held both roles.

Initial reports indicated that the Pistons would likely focus on finding someone for that front office role first, to ensure that person would have some say in the coaching search. That remains the team’s preference, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press, who says the goal is to have a new head of basketball operations in place within the next couple weeks (Twitter links). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski passed along a partial list of candidates on Wednesday.

While the front office hire could dictate which direction the Pistons go for a head coach, former Raptors head coach Dwane Casey and Raptors 905 coach Jerry Stackhouse have been cited as possible targets.

Orlando Magic

As promised, the Magic have certainly taken their time with their head coaching search. Orlando fired Frank Vogel on April 12, one day after the regular season ended, so the team has now been without a head coach for five weeks.

In addition to being patient, the Magic have also been quite secretive, declining to confirm whether or not they’re considering some rumored candidates. We know they’ve interviewed Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool and Spurs assistant Ime Udoka. David Fizdale also met with Orlando, but has since been hired by the Knicks.

Recently, reports have indicated that the Magic’s top candidate may be a surprise choice: University of Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson. Orlando president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman and GM John Hammond both worked in the Bucks’ front office back when Sampson served as an assistant coach in Milwaukee, so presumably they know him well.

While Sampson’s link to the Magic front office could pay off, it doesn’t appear that a link to Weltman – a former Raptors GM – will pay off for Toronto’s Nick Nurse or Jerry Stackhouse. They were initially believed to be candidates, but reportedly haven’t been interviewed for the job.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors may have lost their top choice on Wednesday, when Mike Budenholzer – who met with Toronto on Monday – reached an agreement to coach the Bucks. With the former Hawks coach off the market, it’s not clear which direction the Raptors will go.

As Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca writes today, the other known candidates to replace Dwane Casey are all in-house coaches. Nick Nurse, Rex Kalamian, and Jerry Stackhouse have interviewed for the position, according to Grange, who suggests that Nurse may be the favorite of those three based on his excellent work with Toronto’s offense.

Still, it’s not a lock that the Raptors will pick one of their internal candidates. In fact, Grange says he’d be “very surprised” if team president Masai Ujiri doesn’t cast a wider net in the coming days — or even weeks.


While it’s possible that another team could join the Pistons, Magic, and Raptors in a search for a new head coach, the odds of that happening seem less and less likely.

Teams that have been eliminated from the postseason – or didn’t make it to begin with – probably wouldn’t drag their feet this long before making a change.

As for the four teams still alive, Tyronn Lue is the only one of those four head coaches whose seat may be heating up, but I don’t think he’s in any immediate danger of being fired by the Cavaliers.

To keep tabs on the NBA’s head coaching updates for the rest of the spring, be sure to check out our tracker.

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)

Mavericks Notes: Lottery, Cuban, Free Agency, Porter

Michael Finley joked that he was tempted to demand a recount when the Mavericks landed the fifth pick at Tuesday’s lottery, relays Dwain Price of Mavs.com. Dallas’ VP of basketball operations decided to remain professional at the event and is optimistic the team can land an impact player. The Mavs came into the lottery with the third best chance to win the top choice and a guarantee to fall no lower than sixth.

“It’s a deep draft with some great young talent, so at the fifth pick I think we’ll still be able to get a player that can come in and help us immediately,” Finley said. “It’s a wide variety of sizes and talent in the draft when you look at some of the point guards, some of the wing guys and the big guys.

“Like I said, it’ll give us a great opportunity to get one of those players, and hopefully that player can help us so we won’t be at this lottery next year.”

There’s more tonight from Dallas:

  • The ping pong balls didn’t bounce the Mavericks’ way, but there’s no guarantee the team will hold onto the No. 5 pick, owner Mark Cuban tells Dalton Trigg of 247Sports.com“We are never content,” Cuban said. “We will be open to any and all options.”
  • The Mavericks should be careful not to try to make up for the lottery disappointment by becoming overly aggressive in free agency, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. He advises the team to build slowly and not do something risky like offering a max deal to DeMarcus Cousins, who continues to recover from a ruptured Achilles tendon.
  • Dallas will take a long look at Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. with the fifth pick, Sefko states in a separate piece. Porter missed almost the entire college season with back problems, but his physical gifts still make him a promising NBA prospect. Magic executive Pat Williams, whose team owns the sixth pick, said DeAndre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III and Jaren Jackson Jr. are expected to be the first four taken, with Porter, Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter and maybe Trae Young going right afterward.

Magic Eyeing Kelvin Sampson For Head Coaching Job?

There’s a “growing belief among league insiders” that Kelvin Sampson has emerged as the prime target in the Magic’s coaching search, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). It’s the second time we’ve heard Sampson linked to Orlando, as Mitch Lawrence recently tweeted that the University of Houston head coach was being regarded as a “top candidate” for the Orlando job.

Of the four NBA teams currently seeking a new head coach, the Magic are the only club whose search has been ongoing since the end of the regular season. The Bucks and Raptors began looking for head coaches after they were eliminated from the playoffs, while the Pistons didn’t make a decision on Stan Van Gundy until early May. However, Orlando’s search has now taken over a month, and the team has been cagey about which candidates it’s focusing on.

So far, the only confirmed interviewees for the Magic are Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool, Spurs assistant Ime Udoka, and David Fizdale, who has since been hired by the Knicks. Nick Nurse and Jerry Stackhouse of the Raptors were viewed as possible contenders, given their connection to Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman, but Lawrence suggests those Toronto assistants aren’t in the mix. It’s not clear if Dwane Casey is on Orlando’s list of candidates.

While Sampson may seem like an out-of-left-field target for the Magic, he has a link to Weltman as well — Sampson was an assistant coach in Milwaukee several years ago when Weltman was serving as an assistant GM for the Bucks.

Sampson, who was also a Rockets assistant for a few years, returned to the college ranks in 2014 after his five-year show-cause penalty for NCAA violations with Indiana expired. He has been the head coach of the Cougars for the last four seasons, and was named the AAC Coach of the Year this spring.

Community Shootaround: Draft Lottery Scenarios

The 2018 NBA draft lottery will take place on Tuesday night, as we noted in our lottery primer earlier today. While the odds favor the Suns, there are 14 NBA teams that could ultimately end up with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, creating some fascinating drama.

In a piece for The Ringer on Monday, Paolo Uggetti broke down some of the most interesting potential scenarios for the draft lottery. As Uggetti observes, the two teams still alive in the Eastern Conference Finals have a chance to get some great news before they take the court on Tuesday, since the Cavaliers own the Nets’ first-round pick, while the Celtics will own the Lakers’ first-rounder if it lands at No. 2 or No. 3 overall. The possibility of one or both of those teams landing a top-three pick at the same time they’re looking to advance to the NBA Finals isn’t good news for the rest of the league.

Of course, the Sixers would keep that Lakers pick if it moves all the way up to No. 1. It’s currently 10th in the lottery standings, so the odds of it becoming a top-three pick are slim, but it would create some terrific drama if it lands in the top three, since the balance of power in the Eastern Conference could shift significantly depending on whether the pick ends up at No. 1 (Sixers) or Nos. 2 or 3 (Celtics).

Uggetti’s other intriguing scenarios include big-market teams like the Knicks and Clippers getting a top pick — L.A. could theoretically move into the top three while keeping a second lottery selection, courtesy of the Pistons. Uggetti points to the Magic or Kings getting the No. 1 pick as interesting scenarios too, since neither of those clubs has had much lottery luck in the last few years — despite several appearances near the top of the draft.

Outside of the teams we’ve already mentioned, the Grizzlies, Mavericks, Hawks, Bulls, Hornets, Pistons, and Nuggets all have a chance to land a top pick.

What do you think? What would be the most interesting draft lottery scenario? Which team deserves some good luck the most (or least)? Jump into the comment section below to share your thoughts!