Suns Rumors

Kings, Hawks Likely To Pass On Luka Doncic?

Luka Doncic isn’t sure he’ll come stateside to play in the NBA next season, as he tells ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. “I will tell about all at the right time. Right now I just want to celebrate with my team. Soon I will tell,” the prospect said following Real Madrid’s win in the Euroleague Championship.

Doncic is in the conversation for the No. 1 pick, held by Phoenix, though he is not the favorite to go at that spot. The Kings and Hawks follow the Suns in the draft and Givony hears that both teams are likely to pass on the young wing. The scribe spent the weekend in Belgrade along with several NBA executives to watch Doncic in a game in which he scored just 15 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.

Sacramento and Atlanta may each look to add a long-term piece in the frontcourt with their top pick. It was previously reported that the Kings aren’t overly-impressed with their current bigs.

They have a real hole there in the frontcourt. I don’t think that they’re in love with Willie Cauley-Stein by any means. They started Zach Randolph at the four all year long,” Givony previously reported“What do they do there? Do they go with Marvin Bagley who is going to be a compelling prospect for them? 

Givony wonders whether a team will trade up into the top three to select Doncic and suggests without a trade occurring, the 19-year-old could drop to No.4 or No.5, picks held by Memphis and Dallas, respectively.

McDonough Gives Scouting Report on Ayton, Doncic

  • Suns general manager Ryan McDonough gave a personal scouting report on Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic as the team prepares to pick first in the draft, Scott Bordow of Arizona Central Sports writes. Ayton and Doncic — if he commits to leaving Europe for the NBA — are widely expected to be the top two picks.

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.

Suns Considering ‘Handful’ Of Options For Top Pick

While the early consensus is that there are two players in the running to get drafted first overall, the Suns are considering a handful of options ahead of the big day. Adam Zagoria of ZAGSBLOG writes that the club met with No. 3-ranked Marvin Bagley III at the Draft Combine.

It is difficult and I think people are jumping to conclusions as far as [thinking] there’s only one or two guys in the mix for us,” general manager Ryan McDonough said in an interview with ESPN. “There are more than that. There are a handful of guys.

Of course it will be hard to imagine the perceived values of DeAndre Ayton and Luka Doncic dropping enough that the No. 1 pick goes to somebody else, even if that means the Suns end up trading it.

If you look around the NBA as far as the veteran players, there are probably a few players we would consider trading the pick for,” McDonough said. “It will be a busy month for us.

Perhaps that’s just McDonough doing his diligence and broadcasting that he’s open to high-value offers involving young stars with multiple years of team control left on their contracts.

For now, it’s reasonable to assume that the team will take advantage of the luck bestowed upon them at the Draft Lottery and, with that in mind, it’s worth noting that not only was Suns VP of Basketball Operations James Jones in attendance to watch Doncic play in the EuroLeague Final Four (h/t international hoops reporter David Pick) but franchise owner Robert Sarver was too (h/t Jonathan Givony of ESPN).

Couple that with the first-overall buzz that for months has surrounded Ayton, the Arizona Wildcat with whom the Suns are already quite familiar, and it’s hard to imagine the team turning down the opportunity to draft a potential franchise player at No. 1.

It’s still early and plenty can change in the weeks leading up to June 21. For now, it’s worth recognizing that Ayton and Doncic remain the conventional choices for the top two picks but that any team in the Suns’ position would be foolish not to explore all possible options.

If, when the dust settles, the team somehow still isn’t convinced about either Ayton or Doncic, there’s always the possibility of McDonough taking a page from Danny Ainge‘s book and swapping the first overall pick for a lower pick and additional assets, as Luke Adams wrote in a Suns feature yesterday.

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:

Kokoskov May Not Have Much Say In Suns' Top Pick

  • Sources familiar with the Suns‘ thinking tell Sean Deveney of The Sporting News that new head coach Igor Kokoskov likely won’t be too involved with the team’s decision on the No. 1 pick. Kokoskov may have some input, but the Suns don’t want to put him in a tough position by creating the impression that he lobbied for or against Luka Doncic, who has played for Kokoskov on the Serbian national team.

Draft Notes: Porter, Bamba, Sexton, Allen

Missouri standout Michael Porter Jr. spoke to reporters at the draft combine in Chicago today and confirmed he has met with the Knicks, Mavericks, Sixers, Suns, Cavaliers, Hawks, Grizzlies, Rockets and Clippers, tweets Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. He will have another set of interviews tomorrow as he is scheduled to meet with the Kings, Hornets, Thunder and Celtics.

Porter, 19, missed most of his freshman campaign after he suffered a serious back injury just two minutes into the season. Porter underwent surgery –a microdiscectomy of the L3-L4 spinal discs — which sidelined him until the SEC tournament later in the season. In total, Porter appeared in three games with the Tigers, averaging 10.0 PPG and 6.7 RPG. However, Porter spoke confidently about his abilities and how he compares to other talents in this year’s draft pool.

“I know without a doubt that I’m the — I played against all these guys, they’re all great players — but I’m the best player in this draft,” Porter said. “And I just can’t wait to show what I’m capable of.”

Check out more notes related to the draft below:

  • We relayed earlier that Texas big man Mohamed Bamba measured in with a staggering 7’10” wingspan at the combine. Bamba would have the longest wingspan of any player coming into the NBA since 2000. Speaking to reporters, including Madeline Kenney of the Chicago-Sun Times, Bamba addressed his strongest attribute.“I’d say my biggest strength right now, just one word to summarize it all, is just my presence,” Bamba said. “Both offensively and defensively, the presence that I have is pretty profound. I don’t think any other prospect has this presence. I do more but require less. That’s both on the court and off the court. I feel I’m the most efficient guy in this draft class.” Bamba confirmed he has met with 13 teams, tweets ESPN’s Nick Friedell.
  • Alabama point guard Collin Sexton is at the draft combine and has already met with five teams, Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. Sexton has yet to interview with the Mavericks but that could happen by Friday. Sexton did meet with the Knicks, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
  • The Timberwolves are set to interview Duke shooting guard Grayson Allen, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.

Suns Likely To Use First Overall Pick On Ayton?

  • ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla has watched University of Arizona’s Deandre Ayton extensively and believes the Suns should take him with the first overall pick, Scott Bordow of Arizona Central Sports writes. “He has breathtaking talent and athleticism,” Fraschilla said. “His motor runs high, he has a terrific offensive arsenal and, while there are some chinks in the armor defensively, I thought his effort on that end of the floor (against ASU) was very good as well. There are people who want him to be a better shot blocker but I think that can be polished up.”
  • If the Suns do select Ayton as many expect, the Kings will consider options beyond Slovenian guard Luka Doncic. Jonathan Givony appeared on The Woj Pod and said that the Kings, who own the second overall pick, will consider bigs in addition to Doncic (via RealGM). “They have a real hole there in the frontcourt. I don’t think that they’re in love with Willie Cauley-Stein by any means. They started Zach Randolph at the four all year long,” Givony said. “What do they do there? Do they go with Marvin Bagley who is going to be a compelling prospect for them? Or do they go with Luka Doncic? His father is of Serbian descent. Their GM is Serbian. Their assistant GM is Serbian.”

Five Key Offseason Questions: Phoenix Suns

For a third straight season, the Suns failed to reach the 25-win mark. Their 2017/18 record of 21-61 was the second-worst in franchise history and ranked dead last in the NBA, but all that losing paid off on May 15, when the club won the first overall pick in the 2018 draft lottery.

With a new head coach (Igor Kokoskov) on board and that No. 1 overall pick in hand, the Suns have some reason for optimism heading into the 2018 offseason.

Here are five key questions facing the franchise this summer:

1. What will the Suns do with the No. 1 pick?

With plenty of talent to be found at the top of this year’s draft class, there’s no shortage of good options for the Suns. The two best ones are probably Deandre Ayton, an ultra-talented big man who played his college ball at nearby University of Arizona, and Luka Doncic, a 19-year-old EuroLeague standout who has played for Kokoskov on the Slovenian national team.

Ayton appears to be the early frontrunner, but Suns GM Ryan McDonough has said the team will take its time to make a decision. It will be interesting to see if McDonough considers trading down. A year ago, Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball represented the consensus top two, allowing Danny Ainge to pick up a valuable extra asset by moving down to No. 3 and getting the player he wanted all along.

If the Suns aren’t in love with Ayton or Doncic and another team is, McDonough could make a similar move, though the bet here is that Phoenix won’t pass up on the chance to choose a potential franchise player at No. 1.

2. Will Devin Booker get a long-term extension this year?

Whoever the Suns draft with their top pick will have to mesh with Booker, the closest thing the Suns currently have to a franchise player. Speaking of Booker, he’ll find himself in an interesting contract situation as he enters his fourth NBA season.

Booker will become eligible for a contract extension for the first time on July 1, and he and the Suns will have until the start of the regular season to work out a new long-term deal. Phoenix has no cap limitations restricting the team’s ability to make a lucrative offer to Booker. Still, it’s not clear whether the Suns will rush into an extension for their top scorer or if they’ll prefer to wait until his restricted free agency in 2019.

Even if the Suns have no doubts about securing Booker for the long term, waiting until 2019 to finalize that deal could create more cap flexibility. His cap hold as an RFA in the summer of ’19 would be just under $10MM, while an extension would immediately hit the club’s 2019/20 cap at $25MM+.

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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)