- The Knicks, Kings and Hornets are the teams most likely to trade out of the Top 10 in the draft, Mannix reports in a separate tweet.
- Guards Andre Hollins and Deville Smith and forwards Nino Johnson and Aaron White worked out for the Grizzlies on Monday, completing the team’s predraft workouts, according to Grizzlies.com.
- R.J. Hunter, Anthony Brown, Olivier Hanlan, Christian Wood, Sir’Dominic Porter and Mouhammadou Jaiteh will work out for the Wizards on Tuesday, according to J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. (Twitter link).
- Fenerbahce of the Turkish League is interested in signing Hawks free agent center Pero Antic, according to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia.
Kyle Singler became a fan of new Thunder coach Billy Donovan after the two met face-to-face shortly after the team announced the coach’s hiring, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com writes. “It was quick. It was engaging,” Singler said. “I didn’t really know too much about him so I was walking into it not really expecting much. I didn’t know what was going to be talked about. Really liked the things he had to say, liked his demeanor. He didn’t really get into much talking about [my role]. He just wanted to know what my opinions were with the team last year, what I thought would help the team out next season, stuff like that, style-wise.” The 27-year-old is set to become a restricted free agent this summer, provided OKC tenders him a qualifying offer worth $2,725,003.
Here’s the latest from the Northwest Division:
- The Jazz have workouts scheduled Thursday for Pat Connaughton (Notre Dame), Malcolm Miller (Holy Cross), Bobby Portis (Arkansas), Kevon Looney (UCLA), and Deonta Stocks (West Georgia), the team announced (on Twitter).
- Minnesota senior guard Andre Hollins will also work out for the Jazz on Thursday, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets.
- The Trail Blazers have expressed interest in Portis, though the forward is expected to be off the board prior to the team selecting at pick No. 23, Jabari Young of CSNNW.com tweets.
- Working out for the Timberwolves on Thursday will be J.P. Tokoto (North Carolina), Terry Rozier (Louisville), Norman Powell (UCLA), Olivier Hanlan (Boston College), Jabril Trawick (Georgetown), and Michael Frazier (Florida), Wolfson relays (Twitter link).
Monty Williams would be a solid fit as Thunder coach Billy Donovan‘s lead assistant because Williams brings a wealth of experience and can relate to players well, Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman opines. Williams, 43, was fired as coach of the Pelicans after five seasons. He also has served as an assistant coach for the Blazers for five years. The downside of bringing Williams in, however, is that because he has so much experience, he likely will tend to have his name attached to future head coaching vacancies and that would be problematic for stability purposes, Mayberry adds. Mike Brown and Mo Cheeks are also possibly in the mix, Mayberry writes. The Raptors have been reportedly interested in bringing Williams in as an assistant.
There is more news out of the Northwest:
- Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey is adamant that the team won’t spend money just to spend money and is comfortable going into next season under the salary cap, Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News writes. The Jazz had a strong finish to the season so it’s conceivable that they do not tinker with the roster much, but they do have financial flexibility to do so.The Jazz ranked 25th in league salaries this year, Sorensen notes. “Do we feel obligated that we have to? Absolutely not,’’ Lindsey said. “We could exist underneath the salary cap going into next season.’’ The Jazz won’t go after any big name free agents, but there’s a decent chance they target an up-and-coming player like the Bucks’ Khris Middleton, a restricted free agent who made less than $1MM last year, Sorensen writes.
- R.J. Hunter will work out for the Thunder on Monday and the Jazz on Wednesday, tweets Jake Fischer of LibertyBallers.com. The Georgia State guard is the 21st-ranked prospect on Chad Ford’s ESPN.com list, while Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress has him 26th.
- Minnesota guard Andre Hollins tweeted that he worked out with the Timberwolves on Friday (hat tip to Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press).
The Thunder have a history of making draft promises to prospects, having reportedly made one to Reggie Jackson back in 2011, as well as agreeing to a unique D-League arrangement with Josh Huestis prior to the 2014 NBA Draft, Royce Young of ESPN.com writes. Chad Ford of ESPN.com noted earlier this week that there are rumblings around the league that OKC told Murray State point guard Cameron Payne that it intends to select him with the No. 14 overall pick this June. Payne as a prospect seems tailor-made for the Thunder, notes Young, since the team values size and versatility in its guards. Payne does indeed possess good size for a guard, though he’ll need to bulk up his thin frame, and with his excellent shooting ability Payne can play either guard position, the ESPN scribe adds.
Here’s what else is happening around the Western Conference:
- The Grizzlies are considering bringing in oft-injured former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden for a free agent camp next month, Shams Charania of RealGM reports. Memphis’ current level of interest in the big man remains unclear, but the franchise is scheduled to host a free agent mini-camp in the upcoming weeks, Charania notes. Oden’s last regular season action in the NBA was with the Heat during the 2012/13 season, when he made 23 appearances for Miami.
- The Timberwolves held workouts on Friday for Andre Hollins (Minnesota), Elliott Eliason (Minnesota), Jordan Mickey (LSU), Wayne Blackshear (Louisville), and Jonathan Holmes (Texas), Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports (Twitter link).
- Wolves coach/executive Flip Saunders plans on attending Kristaps Porzingis‘ workout in Las Vegas in two weeks, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune tweets.
- The Thunder worked out Bobby Portis (Arkansas), Jarell Martin (LSU), and Stefan Nastic (Stanford), Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops relays (via Twitter).
- Rashad Vaughn‘s scheduled workout with the Timberwolves has been moved from June 4th to June 15th, and may now be an individual showcase, Wolfson tweets.
Suns GM Ryan McDonough believes there is quite a talent dropoff in this year’s NBA Draft after the team’s pick at No. 13 overall, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. Phoenix hasn’t targeted a specific player, and if it retains the pick, will likely target the best player available, Coro adds. “As a non-playoff team, I think you need help everywhere,” McDonough said. “So we’ll take the best player, even if that goes against what some people think we should do in terms of conventional wisdom. I think, unless you’re a championship-level team, you always take the best available player. Our philosophy is if he’s better than the guys who are on your current roster, maybe he beats him out and you move one of the guys on your current roster. I think some mistakes, in the history of the draft, are made drafting for saying, ‘Oh, we need this. Let’s do the best player who does whatever.’ When you draft that guy, you tend to reach sometimes.”
Here’s the latest from the NBA’s Pacific Division:
- McDonough also indicated that the Suns may be more willing to deal away their first round pick than in years past, Coro adds. “At some point, there is a saturation point for young players as you try to put together a team that is capable of competing and making the playoffs in the Western Conference,” McDonough said. “I think it [trading the pick] is something we’re more open to than in the past but, at the same time, we like the players that we think will be there at 13.“
- In an radio appearance with ESPN’s Colin Cowherd (hat tip to Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel), Jared Dudley spoke about NBA free agents not wanting to play with the Lakers‘ Kobe Bryant. Dudley said, “Most guys don’t want to play with Kobe. He gets in this thing where he doesn’t pass and then overpasses and then tries to get triple-doubles every night. …. That’s why I think it will be a while for the Lakers to get good because they’ve got no stars. I would be surprised if Kevin Love goes there.”
- Former Minnesota guard Andre Hollins has a workout scheduled with the Clippers, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets.
- The Kings have workouts scheduled for Friday with Corey Hawkins, Mikh McKinney, Shaquielle McKissic, Alan Williams, Charles Jackson, and Will Davis II, the team announced.
A disproportionate number of this year’s lottery picks are headed to the Northwest Division, where four of the five teams have one top-14 selection apiece. Those picks will go into vastly different circumstances. The Timberwolves will welcome the No. 1 overall choice to a bottom-up rebuild, the Nuggets have the seventh pick to add to a volatile mix, the No. 12 pick has a chance to help the resurgent Jazz slip into the playoffs next season, while the Thunder are primed to use the No. 14 pick to help fuel a run at the title. Here’s the latest from around the Northwest:
- Jazz draft-and-stash center Tibor Pleiss took to Facebook to deny that he’s headed to Germany’s Bayern Munich, saying that he’s comfortable playing for Barcelona in Spain, as Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia translates. Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops.net reported earlier this week that Barcelona was expected to convey him to Bayern Munich. Still, David Pick of Eurobasket.com hears that Pleiss isn’t satisfied with his role for Barcelona (Twitter link), and his discontent there appeared to be a factor when Pleiss and the Jazz were reportedly in talks about a deal this past season.
- University of Minnesota point guard Andre Hollins will work out for the Timberwolves soon, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). Hollins is the 103rd-best prospect according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com, and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress has him outside the top 100, too, ranking him as the 53rd-best senior.
- The Columbian’s Erik Gunderson figures a fair offer from the Trail Blazers to Wesley Matthews would entail a $9-10MM salary, but Mike Richman of The Oregonian believes it would be stunning to see Matthews wind up with less than $10MM per year, as they write in a collaborative piece.
- Injuries helped limited Mitch McGary to only 32 appearances this season, but last year’s 21st overall pick is nonetheless showing signs of having been another steal for the Thunder in the late first round, as The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry examines.