Aaron Thomas

Pistons Notes: Ilyasova, Free Agency, Draft

Stan Van Gundy was looking for shooting, defense, toughness, defense and high energy as he sought a stretch power forward for the Pistons, and the Pistons coach/executive believes that he has all of that in Ersan Ilyasova, Van Gundy said Tuesday, as Terry Foster of The Detroit News relays.

“That was our plan for the entire summer, not really thinking we would get all of those things in one guy,” Van Gundy said. “That is why this deal was really exciting for us. We didn’t just get a stretch four. We got someone who can add a lot more for us.”

Part of what Ilyasova brings is the ability to complement Andre Drummond the way Van Gundy had his Orlando teams play around Dwight Howard, as Foster examines in his piece. Drummond, whom owner Tom Gores has called a “max player,” is eligible for a rookie scale extension starting July 1st. Here’s more from Detroit:

  • Van Gundy had been inquiring about Ilyasova ever since he took over the Pistons last month, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press writes.
  • The Pistons executive hinted that small forward will be a priority for the team in free agency even if the team uses the No. 8 pick on a player at that position, as MLive’s David Mayo relays within a piece looking at Detroit’s roster holes. Finding a backup big man will be Detroit’s second priority after the three spot, Mayo writes. “We’ve got to go get a small forward we can count on to play,” Van Gundy said. “We’ve got to get backup big guys that we can count on to play. The draft picks — not even talking about 38 [the Pistons second-round pick], even at eight — the draft pick’s a guy that we hope can play, but hopefully can come along slowly a little bit, not be forced to have a lot of pressure on him.”
  • Shooting guards Devin Booker of Kentucky, Tyler Kalinoski of Davidson, Royce O’Neale of Baylor and Aaron Thomas of Florida State are in a predraft workout for the Pistons today, the team announced (Twitter link).

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Wade, Bucks

The Knicks are involved in active discussions to acquire a late first round or early second round pick in this year’s NBA Draft, Shams Charania of RealGM.com reports. New York is offering cash considerations in return for any available selections, Charania notes. The team has worked out several players, including France’s Mouhammadou Jaiteh, selling the potential that the team will push hard to acquire a pick in their projected draft range, the RealGM scribe adds.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • A friend of Dwyane Wade has said that the Heat‘s preference is to sign the guard to a three year deal worth $36MM, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. The salary structure would be $16MM for 2015/16, and then $10MM for each of the remaining seasons, Jackson adds. These figures are quite a difference from the three-year, $60MM deal that Wade is reported to be seeking, the Herald scribe notes.
  • Arizona forward Stanley Johnson has a workout scheduled on Saturday with the Knicks, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com relays (All Twitter links).
  • The Bucks held workouts today for Troran Brown (University of Montevallo), Nedim Buza (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Lucas Dias (Brazil), Alex Marzette (Robert Morris), Aaron Thomas (Florida State), and Greg Whittington (Georgetown), the team announced.
  • Bucks coach Jason Kidd still holds a small ownership stake in the Nets a year after parting ways with the franchise, Robert Windrem of NetsDaily relays (Twitter links). Though Kidd owns less than 1% of the team, the league still wants him to dispose of the stock, Windrem adds.
  • Notre Dame forward Pat Connaughton has a workout scheduled with the Knicks, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com tweets.

Western Notes: Hornacek, Aldridge, Lakers

Steve Kauffman, who is Suns coach Jeff Hornacek‘s agent, denied the reports that his client declined to interview for the coaching vacancy at Iowa State, Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com writes. A source confirmed to Parrish that it was Kauffman who posted on a message board linked to the initial report, “We represent Jeff Hornacek. Rarely do I post but I will simply say this story is inaccurate. Jeff loves his alma mater and the facts are simply wrong here. Under contract is the key. School knew they had to request permission in a certain manner from the Phoenix Suns. I do not wish to allocate the blame as to the parties at fault here. But it’s a shame.” Iowa State hopes to have a replacement in place for Fred Hoiberg, who was recently named coach of the Bulls, by next week, Parrish adds.

Here’s more doings from around the Western Conference:

  • The Suns held workouts Wednesday for Sam Dekker (Wisconsin), Rakeem Christmas (Syracuse), Brandon Ashley (Arizona), Juwan Staten (West Virginia), Bo Barnes (Arizona State), and Daniel Bejarano (Colorado State), Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops tweets.
  • Scheduled to work out for the Suns today are Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin), Trey Lyles (Kentucky), Kelly Oubre (Kansas), Daniel Mullings (New Mexico State), Keifer Sykes (Wisconsin-Green Bay), and Greg Whittington (Georgetown), Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic relays (Twitter link).
  • The Lakers held workouts on Wednesday for Aaron Thomas (Florida State), Tyler Haws (BYU), Rashad Vaughn (UNLV), Sykes, Richaun Holmes (Bowling Green), and Chris Walker (Florida), the team announced (on Twitter).
  • Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge has put his Portland area home up for sale, Amy Schwartz of 750 The Game tweets. Aldridge is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and while his real estate dealings could be strictly a coincidence, they could also be interpreted as a harbinger of the 29-year-old’s intent to sign elsewhere this summer.
  • LSU forward Jarell Martin is scheduled to work out for the Blazers today, Scotto relays (Twitter link).

Southwest Notes: Grizzlies, Beverley, Smith

Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said he will make a push to add a player who is between 6’7″ and 6’9″ who can shoot 3-pointers in the draft, Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal writes. The Grizzlies own the 25th pick. The Grizzlies’ workout on Friday featured Tennessee’s Josh Richardson, Arkansas’ Ky Madden, Florida State’s Aaron Thomas, Notre Dame’s Pat Connaughton, Florida’s Chris Walker and Arizona’s Brandon Ashley, Tillery reports. Citing the team’s recent draft history, Tillery writes that the Grizzlies believe it’s very conceivable to find a player that is talented and ready to fill a need at that pick. Connaughton appeared to be the most intriguing player in the Grizzlies’ workout, Tillery adds, citing the 6’5″ guard’s 44-inch vertical leap, shooting ability and basketball savvy. GM Chris Wallace said that the pick has to end up being an asset.

“You’d love to have need and talent coincide,” Wallace said. “What you’re trying to do is get a player who is going to be with you for a while and help the team or someone that gains some interest around the league, and helps you make a transaction. Those are reasonable scenarios for picks in the 20s.”

Here’s more from out of the Southwest:

  • Like he has expressed previously, Patrick Beverley, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, is hopeful he will be with the Rockets next year, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston. Hopefully it’s here,” Beverley said, per Berman. “I’m very loyal. This is the only team that took a chance on me. I understand it’s a business.” Reports in April indicated the Rockets would like to re-sign Beverley, who earned  $915,243 this season.
  • Josh Smith is another free agent who has previously conveyed his desire to return to the Rockets next season, but the veteran understands how unpredictable the free agency climate can be, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes. “Coming into free agency, you never know what is going to happen,” Smith said. “You just hope for the best and stay positive. Just reflect right now and don’t worry about the future.” It was reported last month there there’s mutual interest between Smith and GM Daryl Morey in a new deal.

Pacific Notes: D’Alessandro, Draft, Clippers

Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers denies that there is any rift between teammates Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com relays. “I can put this to rest: They get along great,” Rivers told Fred Roggin of The Beast 980. “Clearly, like everybody, they don’t get along all the time, and they don’t get along with me all the time, either, by the way. I don’t see that as an issue. I think all three, and I’m including Blake [Griffin] in this as well, understand how important the other guy is to them. Meaning, they all three need each other to win, and I think all three get that and all three know that and all three want to do it together. To me, that’s the most important thing.”

Here’s the latest out of the NBA’s Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers held workouts today for Phil Greene, Rayvonte Rice, Cady Lalanne, Maurice Walker, Bryce Dejean-Jones, and Matt Carlino, Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops reports (Twitter link).
  • Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro is a “significant candidate” for the now vacant athletic director post at St. John’s University, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). D’Alessandro lost a significant amount of his authority when the team hired new president of basketball and franchise operations, Vlade Divac.
  • The Suns worked out Quinn Cook, Marcus Thornton (Georgia), D.J. Newbill, Tyler Haws, Matt Stainbrook, and Aaron Thomas, Scotto tweets.
  • When speaking about potential 2015 draftees Aaron Harrison and Kevin Pangos, both of whom recently worked out for the team, Suns coach Jeff Hornacek noted that both players may not get selected this June, but could have a shot at making an NBA roster because of the changes in how guards are used today, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. “There are probably more guys that are the combo guards because they’re not really true point guards,” Hornacek said. “They’re all scoring guys. They all come up with the scoring mentality. You try to find those guys that can do both those things. But especially in today’s game, the point guard, he may be a scorer but he’s still got to lead the team. He’s still got to have that ability to direct guys and not be afraid.

Eastern Notes: Curry, Celtics, Perkins

The Hornets announced today that former player and current broadcaster Dell Curry has expanded his role with the organization, becoming a team Ambassador and Special Projects Advisor. Curry will serve as an ambassador for the team at events related to both basketball and business operations, such as community programs, charity outings, speaking engagements and fundraising galas. “We are pleased that Dell has agreed to expand his role with our organization,” said Hornets Sports & Entertainment President & COO Fred Whitfield.  “Dell’s name is synonymous with the words ‘Charlotte Hornets.’  Our fans know him well from both his history as a player and his six seasons as our TV analyst.  We are excited that he will be strengthening his relationship with our franchise.

Here’s the latest out of the Eastern Conference:

  • The Celtics held workouts today for David Kravish (California), Cliff Alexander (Kansas), Chasson Randle (Stanford), George Lucas (Brazil), Maxie Esho (UMass), and Satnam Singh (IMG Academy), Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com relays (via Twitter).
  • Kendrick Perkins had a choice to sign with either the Clippers or the Cavaliers after parting ways with the Jazz at midseason via a buyout arrangement, and the big man is thrilled that he ultimately decided on Cleveland, Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media writes. “Just to come and have a chance to win a title is beautiful,” Perkins told Haynes. “Anytime you have that chance to make it to The Finals, you’re definitely a championship-type team. … We’re proving it every night.
  • The Nets have three sets of workouts scheduled for next week, the team announced. The group on Monday will consist of Terry Rozier (Louisville), Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga), Treveon Graham (VCU), Aaron Thomas (FSU), Mike Myers (MD-Eastern Shore), and Kendall Gray (Delaware State). Tuesday’s crop will consist of Phil Greene (St. John’s), Darrick Marks (Boise State), Darrun Hilliard (Villanova), Greg Whittington (Georgetown), Aaron White (Iowa), and David Laury (Iona). And on Wednesday the team will work out Jarvis Summers (Mississippi), Quinn Cook (Duke), Jesse Morgan (Temple), J.P. Tokoto (North Carolina), Jonathan Holmes (Texas), and JayVaughn Pinkston (Villanova).

Draft Notes: Spurs, Grizzlies, Payne

Hoops Rumors has a full log of 2015 draft news that you can see anytime at the link here. You can also set that page up as an RSS feed to receive constant updates. All you’d need to do would be to add /feed to the url, like so: hoopsrumors.com/2015-nba-draft/feed. Other draft-related resources include our latest Mock Draft, the full list of early entrants, as well as our ongoing Prospect Profile series. Here’s more news regarding the 2015 NBA Draft:

  • League sources have suggested to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link) that Murray State guard Cameron Payne has a draft promise from a team, and that there is a very good chance he is going to be a lottery pick. If Payne has indeed been targeted by a lottery team, his most likely destination is the Thunder, whom I predicted would be selecting the guard in my latest mock draft, though this is merely my speculation of course.
  • The Spurs brought in Syracuse forward Chris McCullough for an interview today, Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops tweets.
  • Scheduled for workouts this Friday with the Grizzlies are Josh Richardson, Ky Madden, Aaron Thomas, Pat Connaughton, Chris Walker, and Brandon Ashley, Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal (subscription required) relays.
  • Arkansas forward Bobby Portis has workouts scheduled with the Thunder, Heat, Pistons, Raptors, Pacers, Hornets, Bucks, Suns, and Jazz, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe tweets.
  • Former Colorado guard Askia Booker worked out for the Suns on Tuesday, and has upcoming workouts scheduled with the Lakers and the Jazz, Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post relays (Twitter link).
  • Booker said that he was asked about his refusal to play in this year’s College Basketball Invitational tournament by the Sixers, and also expects the subject to come up in other interviews, Dempsey relays in a series of tweets. “It’s something I’m willing to address no doubt. I have no issue addressing that. When the question comes I’ll be able to answer it,” Booker said. “It was a mutual decision. We came to an agreement, and the decision was made.” Booker reportedly passed on playing in the tourney to prepare for the upcoming draft instead.

Atlantic Notes: Mudiay, Sixers, Celtics

While at the draft lottery, Sixers GM Sam Hinkie was asked if the team looked at Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel as franchise cornerstones, and how he sold the midseason trade of Michael Carter-Williams to the two big men, Zach Lowe of Grantland relays. “If your question is more about a particular trade we made, and how that might make [Noel and Embiid] feel, I called them immediately as we traded that person. Immediately,” said Hinkie. “I explained to them about how they should think about things — how some things spill over into others, and some don’t. That they shouldn’t read too much into these things. And I talked to them in exit interviews about what kind of program we were trying to build, and where they might fit in. And how the way they might fit has as much to do with them as it does with any grand design — with how they step into a particular void. Sometimes those voids — voids of leadership, of who the best player is, or voids in play — don’t stay open very long. Someone steps into it. They’ll have the first two chances at that, but there are gonna be maybe six more guys right behind them that will be looking to get theirs, too.

Here’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Many insiders around the NBA believe that it is a foregone conclusion that the Sixers will select Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell with the No. 3 overall pick this June, Derek Bodner of DraftExpress tweets.
  • With the Knicks being the only team in the draft lottery to fall to a lower than projected pick, New York will likely be in line to select Emmanuel Mudiay this June, Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv writes. Knicks GM Steve Mills already spoke with the young guard while at the NBA Draft lottery, Zagoria notes. “Mudiay is potentially a good player,” Mills said. “We haven’t worked him out yet, but he’s a guy that we think will obviously be in the mix, but we will look at all of our options and we will feel good about whoever we end up selecting.”
  • The Celtics have workouts scheduled today with Aaron Thomas (Florida State), Anthony Brown (Stanford), Dez Wells (Maryland), Malcolm Miller (Holy Cross), Julian Washburn (UTEP), SirDominic Pointer (St. John’s), Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com relays (Twitter link).

Aaron Thomas To Enter NBA Draft

Florida State junior Aaron Thomas will enter the 2015 NBA draft, his agent Seth Cohen informed Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com (Twitter link). Thomas is no lock to be selected in June, and the guard didn’t make either Chad Ford of ESPN.com‘s (Insider subscription required) or Givony’s top 100 player rankings.

The 6’5″ shooting guard’s junior season was interrupted when he was declared academically ineligible back in December. He only appeared in six contests this season for the Seminoles, averaging 14.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 28.3 minutes per game. Thomas’ career numbers are 10.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 1.5 APG. His career shooting line is .441/.319/.771.

Thomas’ best hope to make it into the NBA is to snag a summer league invite from a team and turn that opportunity into a training camp deal. His odds are quite long, so heading to the D-League or overseas to play is the more likely scenario for the 23-year-old next season.