Oregon point guard Payton Pritchard and Michigan State forward Xavier Tillman are two potential draft targets for the Jazz, Tony Jones of The Athletic opines. Pritchard could replace free agent Emmanuel Mudiay, while Tillman would add toughness and defensive versatility, Jones continues. Utah owns a late first-round pick. Vanderbilt swingman Aaron Nesmith, a prolific shooter, is another player the franchise could consider at that spot, Jones adds.
We have more from the Northwest Division:
- The Thunder’s best chance for long-term improvement is to cash in on Chris Paul‘s big season and move him this offseason, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. Paul — who still has two years left on his contract, including a $44.2MM player option in the final year — will never again be higher in value than this summer, in Hollinger’s view. Paul’s situation is similar to that of Mike Conley‘s last offseason, when he was traded to Utah due to the size of his contract and the numbers of players likely to be required to match salaries, Hollinger adds. Hollinger and The Athletic’s Erik Horne break down the Thunder’s roster and outlook in their comprehensive story.
- If unrestricted free agent Paul Millsap re-signs with the Nuggets, it will be at a vastly reduced rate, Mike Singer of the Denver Post speculates. Millsap, who is making $30MM this season, would probably have to settle for a short-term contract with a starting salary of $10-13MM. Re-signing fellow power forward Jerami Grant, who is likely to opt out and become an unrestricted free agent, is probably a bigger priority, Singer adds.
- The Thunder are in danger of losing their first-round draft pick, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman points out. It’s a scenario that we previously noted. Oklahoma City traded the pick in November 2016 with top-20 protection to Philadelphia for Grant. OKC is tied for the ninth-best record in the NBA, which means if the draft order remains in place, the 76ers would get the Thunder’s pick at No. 21 or 22.