Anthony Black

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Sixers, T. Jones, Black

The Knicks might not be championship favorites entering 2023/24, but they’re in a strong financial position going forward, without any of the NBA’s 50 highest-paid players, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

As Bondy outlines, the Knicks’ top earners rank just outside the top 50, headlined by point guard Jalen Brunson ($26.3MM, No. 52) and forward Julius Randle ($25.7MM, No. 53). Bondy hears Josh Hart will receive an extension next month in the neighborhood of $75MM over four years (similar to what Ian Begley of reported three weeks ago), while Immanuel Quickley is looking for more than that on a rookie scale deal.

Having good players on reasonable long-term deals should help the Knicks avoid the restrictive second tax apron for the foreseeable future, Bondy notes, and could help the club swing trades in the future.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Kyle Neubeck of answers several Sixers-related questions in his latest mailbag, writing that the Clippers have been “fairly unserious” in trade offers for James Harden to this point, a sign that teams around the league might not value the former MVP the same way they used to. Neubeck is skeptical Paul Reed will attempt many three-pointers in ’23/24, despite talk of a potential expanded role.
  • The Wizards‘ acquisition of Tyus Jones flew under the radar a bit due to the bigger names involved in the three-team deal, but he’s a solid player with plenty of desirable attributes. Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington examined Jones’ career statistics to get an idea of what he might bring to the table next season.
  • Anthony Black, who was selected No. 6 overall last month by the Magic, recently spoke to Sam Yip of HoopsHype about a number of topics, including which NBA players he enjoys watching and what he needs to improve on entering his rookie season.

Southeast Notes: Ball, Highsmith, Muscala, Magic

Hornets star guard LaMelo Ball signed a five-year, maximum-salary designated rookie extension, worth up to a projected $260MM, with Charlotte earlier this summer.

During a press conference with gathered reporters, Ball and team president and general manager Mitch Kupchak spoke about the new agreement, as Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer reports.

“The decision, it wasn’t really hard,” Ball, the third draft pick in 2020, said. “All my years here I’ve had a good time. Life wasn’t bad. The basketball aspect, that’s not really going well. You kind of want to live your life and just have fun and just be living well. So in Charlotte I was doing that, so it just all felt like a great choice.”

Ball was limited to just 36 contests with the Hornets in 2022/23 due to ankle injuries, but was prolific on offense when he did play. The 6’7″ guard averaged 23.3 PPG on .411/.376/.836 shooting splits, along with 8.4 APG and 6.4 RPG. Charlotte has yet to make the playoffs during Ball’s NBA career.

“To have a player of LaMelo’s caliber with his game, with his youth, we know he is going to get better as a player,” Kupchak said. “He’s here every day. He certainly had a setback last year, but in terms of healing, he’s been 100 percent healed and he’s been on the court working out every single day trying to get better.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Heat forward Haywood Highsmith recently saw his $1.9MM salary for the 2023/24 season become fully guaranteed, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “It’s a good step in the right direction for me,” Highsmith told Chiang. “Still developing, still trying to get better and big things coming for me, I hope. I’ve been working hard this offseason, so it’s definitely a good step in the right direction.” Former Miami teammate Udonis Haslem, now retired, unpacked how Highsmith approaches the game. “Undersized, not a guy who you’re going to run a lot of plays for, has to be efficient,” Haslem said. “His approach is a defensive-minded approach, so he takes the challenge every night. He’s just my guy.”
  • Despite a winless five-game 2023 Summer League run, the Magic were able to learn about their two rookie lottery selections, while in turn educating No. 6 pick Anthony Black and No. 11 pick Jett Howard about the team’s own approach to its internal dynamics, writes Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. “From everybody in the front office to the coaching staff to the players, everybody’s locked in,” Howard said, “We just met each other but we still had the willingness to keep fighting and sticking together. “Even down the stretch when we’re losing, we’re still cognate for one another. We showed up and worked hard in training camp. All of those things just make a culture.”
  • On the cusp of his 11th NBA season, 32-year-old Wizards big man Mike Muscala isn’t taking his longevity for granted, writes Chip Scoggins of The Star Tribune. “As a young athlete, you’re always striving for something,” Muscala said. “It’s like, ‘I want to do this. I want to compete against this person.’ There’s still a lot of value in that. But once you kind of check those boxes, it’s like, now what? When you’re grateful for whatever situation you’re in and the opportunities you have, that’s been motivating me.”

Magic Sign Anthony Black, Jett Howard To Rookie Deals

The Magic have officially signed rookie lottery picks Anthony Black and Jett Howard, the team has announced in a press release (Twitter link).

Based on the 2023/24 rookie scale, Black’s first-year salary is expected to be worth about $7.25MM, while Howard’s will be approximately $5MM. The first two years of both contracts will be guaranteed, while the Magic will hold team options on the third and fourth seasons.

The Magic selected Black, an SEC All-Freshman shooting guard out of Arkansas, with the sixth pick in last month’s draft. During his lone NCAA season, the 6’7″ swingman averaged 12.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.9 APG, 2.1 SPG and 0.6 BPG.

Howard, a 6’8″ wing out of Michigan, was drafted with the No. 11 selection. The 2022/23 All-Big Ten honoree averaged 14.2 PPG on .414/.368/.800 shooting splits, along with 2.8 RPG, 2.0 APG and 0.7 BPG, while a Wolverine under father and head coach Juwan Howard.

Draft Rumors: Miller, Hornets, Blazers, Pacers, Magic, More

The Hornets appear to be leaning toward selecting Alabama’s Brandon Miller with the second overall pick in tomorrow night’s draft, according to reports from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link via ClutchPoints), Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link), Jeremy Woo of ESPN (Insider link) and Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Wojnarowski, Givony, and Woo have all heard from sources who say Miller performed much better in his second workout on Monday in front of Hornets brass, including owner Michael Jordan. Wojnarowski goes so far as to say Miller “further solidified his standing as Charlotte’s choice at No. 2.”

For his part, Miller said in a SiriusXM NBA Radio interview (Twitter video link) that he didn’t feel intimidated by working out in front of Jordan, noting that he didn’t grow up watching the Hall of Famer. He also said he had a “fun time” exchanging verbal jabs with Jordan.

Here are more rumors on the draft, which is less than 24 hours away:

  • It would take a “significant return” for the Trail Blazers to part with the No. 3 pick in a draft that many view as having a consensus top-three prospects, but they’ll continue to listen to offers up until it’s time to make a selection, Wojnarowski said on ESPN’s NBA Today (YouTube link). “Certainly, they want to build around Damian Lillard, Wojnarowski said, per RealGM. “That’s been their focus. Damian Lillard says he wants to continue to be in Portland. So I think they’ll go right up to the clock on Thursday night. Offers and outreach from teams tend to get more serious the closer you get to the deadline…Portland may not have gotten the best offers that will come to them, but they will here in the next 24 hours or so. This is a significant decision for this organization, for Damian Lillard’s future in Portland.” If Miller gets picked No. 2, the Blazers would almost certainly select Scoot Henderson, Woj added.
  • Fischer confirms a recent report that the Spurs are inquiring about adding a second lottery pick and have been linked to French wing Bilal Coulibaly, who played with projected No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama on Metropolitans 92. Interestingly, sources tell Woo that Coulibaly hasn’t unilaterally granted access to his medical details, indicating he may have a preferred destination in mind.
  • Cam Whitmore‘s stock may be falling due to medical concerns, sources tell Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report, who has Whitmore going No. 9 to the Jazz in his latest mock draft. Whitmore had been viewed as an option for the Rockets (No. 4) or Pistons (No. 5).
  • Although Ausar Thompson canceled a workout with the Pacers (No. 7) last week, he still had a meeting with team officials, he told Fischer. Indiana sent a “select group” of personnel to Atlanta to meet with Thompson over the weekend, Fischer writes.
  • Anthony Black‘s camp “initially showed resistance” to the idea of working out for Orlando due to the Magic‘s guard depth, sources tell Fischer. However, he wound up leaving a strong impression on the team and now thinks he could be picked No. 6 overall, he told Fischer. If the Magic do pick a guard, they’ve given rivals the impression they’d consider trading Cole Anthony, who has a “great relationship” with the front office, or Jalen Suggs. “They didn’t tell me that,” Black said, “but that’s what I figured they’d do if they picked me.”
  • The Lakers have been exploring all kinds of options with their first-round pick (No. 17), including possibly moving up a few slots, Fischer writes. Keyonte George could be a target — the guard has also been linked to the Raptors at No. 13, per Fischer.
  • According to Fischer, Jarace Walker believes he could go as high as No. 5 (Pistons), with a floor possibly being Indiana (No. 7); Taylor Hendricks believes he could go anywhere from No. 5 to No. 12 (Thunder); and Dereck Lively II has been told he could be picked anywhere from No. 10 (Dallas) to No. 20 (Houston).

Spurs Rumors: Wembanyama, Vassell, Johnson, Draft

While a previous report indicated that Victor Wembanyama likely wouldn’t play in Summer League games this July, he told reporters on Wednesday that he plans to do so, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press relays (via Twitter).

The Spurs and Wembanyama will likely sort out the specifics after he’s officially drafted on Thursday, but LJ Ellis of Spurs Talk gets the sense that the team will probably allow the big man to suit up if he wants to.

As Ellis explains, while the Spurs will likely want to be as cautious as possible with a player they expect to build their franchise around for the foreseeable future, Wembanyama takes pride in his availability and has conveyed that he wants to play as much as possible after not missing a single game in France this past season. That means he’ll want to take part in Summer League and this year’s World Cup before aiming to play all 82 games as a rookie.

While the Spurs won’t want to push Wembanyama too hard as he adjusts to the more rigorous NBA schedule next season, it sounds like they won’t stand in the way of him playing for France in the World Cup, Ellis writes.

Here’s more on the Spurs:

  • San Antonio is open to the idea of hiring some of the personal trainers that have worked with Wembanyama and kept him healthy so far in his professional career, according to Ellis. Those discussions are expected to begin after he’s officially drafted on Thursday.
  • The Spurs don’t appear inclined to offer Devin Vassell or Keldon Johnson as they continue to look into acquiring an additional 2023 first-round pick, according to Ellis. General manager Brian Wright said as much earlier this week. However, the club has made future draft assets available in an effort to land a second lottery selection, Ellis writes, adding that Anthony Black, Kobe Bufkin, and Bilal Coulibaly have been cited most often as possible San Antonio targets.
  • A scout previously suggested to Ellis that the Spurs may pursue a veteran point guard like Fred VanVleet or Chris Paul this offseason, but a team source essentially shot down that idea. “The plan is to avoid big, costly mistakes and to slowly build this thing out,” the source told Ellis. “See what you have first, see what you need, see what can be grown organically and go from there.”

Trade Rumors: T. Jones, Hawks, Spurs, Wolves, Jazz, Sexton

The Grizzlies are exploring the possibility of trading reserve point guard Tyus Jones, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

It’s an interesting rumor, given that starting point guard Ja Morant is expected to miss at least the first 25 games of the 2023/24 season due to a suspension. Jones, one of the league’s top backups, would presumably be promoted to the starting five if he remains in Memphis through the offseason, but apparently that’s not a given.

According to Fischer, with Dillon Brooks expected to move on in free agency, the Grizzlies are making it a priority to upgrade their wing depth. Fischer notes that the Spurs talked to Jones last summer before he re-signed with Memphis, but are probably unlikely to pursue him again this offseason after his brother Tre Jones emerged as San Antonio’s starter.

The Raptors (OG Anunoby) and the Clippers (several wings) are among the other teams that could make sense as destinations for Jones, Fischer writes, though Toronto may re-sign Fred VanVleet and has set a high asking price for Anunoby. Eric Gordon, Norman Powell, and Marcus Morris are among the veterans the Clippers could offer in a deal for Jones, according to Fischer, adding that Morris has been viewed as a trade candidate by rival teams since he fell out of the rotation near the end of last season.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, league sources have linked the Hawks to several teams in trade discussions, including the Celtics, Raptors, and Mavericks. O’Connor reiterates that Pascal Siakam is a player of interest for Atlanta, which Fischer previously reported.
  • There are rumblings that the Spurs are looking to acquire a second lottery selection in addition to their No. 1 pick, according to O’Connor, who wonders if the team might package its second-round picks (Nos. 33 and 44) with a “rising player” to try to move up. For what it’s worth, Spurs GM Brian Wright was asked if the team would consider moving Devin Vassell or Keldon Johnson in a deal for a first-round pick and said no, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. “With this team we want to see what we have,” Wright said. “We have a group that has worked really hard. Where they were last year may not be what they are in the future. We want to see how things blend together.”
  • The Timberwolves, who currently hold only the No. 53 pick in Thursday’s draft, have been making inquiries to see if they could get into the first round, but haven’t gained traction on a deal, reports Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
  • As ESPN suggested earlier today, the Jazz have contacted the Pistons about the possibility of trading up to No. 5 in the draft using the Nos. 9 and 16 picks, according to Fischer. However, while ESPN’s report indicated that Jarace Walker may be Utah’s target, Fischer suggests rival teams think the Jazz are after Anthony Black.
  • The Jazz have made veteran guard Collin Sexton available in trade talks, sources tell Fischer. Sexton has three years and $54.5MM left on the contract he signed a year ago.

Draft Rumors: Pelicans, Blazers, Pistons, Jazz, Wizards, Bufkin, Raptors, More

The chatter about the possibility of the Pelicans moving into the top three of Thursday’s draft to select Scoot Henderson has “died down in recent days,” Jeremy Woo writes in ESPN’s latest mock draft (Insider link). While New Orleans could still look to make a deal involving the No. 14 pick, Woo says the team seems reluctant to move either Zion Williamson or Brandon Ingram and the Hornets appear unlikely to move off of No. 2.

As for the Trail Blazers, they continue to talk to various teams about the No. 3 pick, but they also seem content to select whoever is available between Henderson and Brandon Miller, per ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. Sources tell Givony that unless Portland gets an offer it can’t turn down, the club may just hang onto that pick.

Elsewhere in the top half of the lottery, the “intel has shifted” regarding the Pistons‘ pick at No. 5, according to Givony, who says Cam Whitmore no longer looks like a safe projection at that spot. A trade down seems increasingly viable, given that Detroit likes several players who would probably be a reach at No. 5, including Taylor Hendricks, Gradey Dick, Jalen Hood-Schifino, and Cason Wallace.

Givony identifies the Jazz – who hold the ninth, 16th, and 28th overall picks – as one possible trade partner for the Pistons, writing that Utah is exploring many trade scenarios and has been frequently linked to forward Jarace Walker. The Jazz would likely have to move ahead of the Pacers at No. 7 to have a shot at Walker, Givony adds.

Here’s more from ESPN’s draft experts:

  • Anthony Black returned to D.C. over the weekend for a second workout with the Wizards, Woo reports. Multiple recent reports have linked Black to the Wizards, who hold the No. 8 overall pick. Woo says he’s “strongly in the mix” but also names Ausar Thompson and “dark horse” Kobe Bufkin as targets to watch for Washington.
  • Bufkin is a hot name to watch in the back half of the lottery, according to Givony and Woo, who suggest there has been speculation that the Michigan guard received a promise from a team like the Raptors (No. 13). Speaking of Toronto, Givony has heard from sources that free agent center Jakob Poeltl prefers not to be on a rebuilding team next season. While the Raptors aren’t considered likely to blow up their roster this summer, that’s a factor to take into account as they weigh potential paths.
  • A “large swath” of the league has called the Mavericks about the No. 10 pick, according to Woo, who writes that Dallas is still weighing its options. The Mavs are fond of some prospects in that range and would like to stay in the draft but are also seeking win-now pieces, Woo notes.
  • The Hornets have “made overtures” to some wings projected to be picked before No. 27, which is an indication that they may be exploring a trade up from No. 27 using one or more of their second-round picks (Nos. 34, 39, 41), Givony writes. The franchise’s incoming owners aren’t expected to have a major impact on Charlotte’s draft selections, but Givony wonders if the new ownership group could influence Charlotte’s plan with restricted free agent Miles Bridges, who missed all of last season following domestic violence charges.

Wizards Notes: Beal Trade, Winger, Porzingis, Black

The Wizardsdecision to trade Bradley Beal is a smart move that probably should have been made four years ago, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Robbins argues that Washington could have gotten much more in return for Beal in 2019 after John Wall suffered an Achilles injury that altered the future of the franchise. Beal had just finished his second All-Star season, and although the deal would have been controversial, the Wizards could have demanded a significantly higher price than what they’re getting from Phoenix.

Beal had become frustrated with the organization’s lack of progress, and former team president Tommy Sheppard had considered trading him at the 2022 deadline, according to Robbins. That plan fell through when Beal suffered a season-ending ligament tear in his left wrist, and Robbins speculates that Sheppard might still be running the team if he could have moved Beal at that point.

Sources tell Robbins that the Wizards are willing to work with the Suns to expand the trade if Chris Paul wants to be shipped to a contending team. The Clippers have been mentioned as a potential suitor for Paul, and Robbins believes Washington might be able to pick up at least one useful player and a draft pick in such a deal.

There’s more from Washington:

  • New president of basketball operations Michael Winger made a similar trade when he was with the Clippers, sending Blake Griffin to Detroit when L.A.’s front office decided his contract was an impediment to building a contender, notes Ben Golliver of The Washington Post. Golliver believes trading Beal was the right move, even if the Wizards didn’t get much in return, because the franchise now has financial flexibility and a commitment to start rebuilding. Golliver expects Winger to focus on developing players and collecting draft assets, the same way he did when he worked for the Thunder.
  • Kristaps Porzingis would become a valuable trade asset if he picks up his $36MM player option for next season, observes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Porzingis is accomplished both as an outside shooter and rim protector, connecting at 38.5% from long distance this season while averaging 1.5 blocks per game. He has become a more effective post scorer and may have moved past his health concerns by appearing in 65 games. Porzingis is only 27 and might not have a future in Washington if Winger is serious about a long-term rebuild.
  • The Wizards appear to be targeting Arkansas’ Anthony Black with the No. 8 pick in the draft, tweets Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports. Multiple sources told her that Black was impressive during his workout and interview in Washington.

Draft Rumors: Lively, Miller, Henderson, Amen Thompson, Whitmore

Dereck Lively’s strong showing during the pre-draft process could make him a top-10 pick, according to Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. The Duke center was considered to be a mid-to-late first-rounder when he declared for the draft, but sources tell Wasserman that he has been impressing teams with his shooting touch during his pro day and workouts.

Lively didn’t have a large role in the Blue Devils’ offense, averaging just 5.2 points and 3.4 field goal attempts per game. However, teams have watched his videos from high school and believe he may have potential as a stretch four. That combined with his shot-blocking ability give him the profile of a modern NBA big man.

The Wizards at No. 8 are considered the highest potential draft spot for Lively, according to Wasserman, who hears that the Mavericks at 10, Magic at 11, Thunder at 12 and Pelicans at 14 are also interested.

There are more draft rumors to pass along, all from Wasserman:

  • Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson both have supporters in the Hornets‘ front office, sources tell Wasserman. Today’s planned workout and meeting with owner Michael Jordan could tip the scales on which player is selected at No. 2. Miller has been the presumed pick for several weeks, but Wasserman hasn’t been able to track down how that rumor began. Most scouts that he’s talked to see Henderson as the better player, but Charlotte has to consider who would fit best alongside LaMelo Ball.
  • The Rockets‘ choice at No. 4 appears to be coming down to Amen Thompson or Cam Whitmore. Sources tell Wasserman that the team likely views Thompson as the best player available, but its confidence in landing James Harden in free agency could influence whether it wants a play-maker like Thompson or a scorer like Whitmore. The Villanova forward has been impressive during pre-draft workouts and has made the decision more difficult for Houston’s front office, Wasserman adds. Sources tell him that Thompson is still considered the more likely choice because of his fit with Jalen Green.
  • Olivier-Maxence Prosper has raised his stock continuously since the draft combine and may go in the top 20, according to Wasserman’s sources. The Marquette guard has worked out for at least 16 teams, displaying defensive skills, a competitive attitude and shooting potential. Several lottery teams are interested, according to Wasserman, but they may consider trading down for him.
  • Arkansas’ Anthony Black is considered to be the most likely choice for the Wizards, and sources tell Wasserman that the Jazz are expected to take Black at No. 9 if Washington passes on him.
  • Michigan’s Kobe Bufkin appears to have reached lottery status, with rival teams seeing the Raptors as his floor at No. 13. Wasserman notes that Bufkin hasn’t taken part in many workouts, which could indicate that he has received a draft promise.
  • Wasserman identifies Lively, Bufkin, Indiana’s Jalen Hood-Schifino and France’s Bilal Coulibaly as players who have probably risen into the lottery, leaving Baylor’s Keyonte George and Arkansas’ Nick Smith Jr. as the most likely to slide into the 15-20 range.
  • Belmont’s Ben Sheppard may be a target for teams looking to trade up into the middle of the first round, Wasserman adds.
  • Wasserman hears that the Rockets aren’t expected to keep their pick at No. 20 and appear willing to trade it for a future first-rounder.
  • Once Kansas sharpshooter Gradey Dick is off the board, UConn’s Jordan Hawkins will be the next target for teams in need of shooting help, according to Wasserman, who states that the Magic might consider him at No. 11.

Draft Rumors: Trades, Hornets, Blazers, Whitmore, Pistons, Mavs, More

The Lakers, Warriors, Nets, Grizzlies, and Pacers are among the teams with draft picks in the back half of the first round who are believed to be exploring trade scenarios, Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo report within their latest mock draft for (Insider link).

According to Givony, the Lakers are especially interested in talking to teams that hold multiple picks, which suggests they may be open to trading down from No. 17 in order to acquire an extra selection or two. The Warriors are looking into the possibility of moving up from No. 19 by moving a young player like Jonathan Kuminga, sources tell ESPN.

The Nets, who hold the Nos. 21 and 22 picks, are investigating whether they might be able to move into the lottery or the middle of the first round by packaging those two selections, according to Givony, who says Memphis (No. 25) is another team seeking opportunities to move into the late lottery or mid-first round.

As for the Pacers, they have a lottery pick at No. 7 and are thought to be interested in adding an “explosive, defensive-minded power forward,” so Givony has them selecting Jarace Walker in that spot, noting that Ausar Thompson and Taylor Hendricks are also very much on their radar. Indiana also controls the 26th, 29th, and 32nd overall picks and has been engaged in trade discussions about those selections. It seems unlikely the club will use all of them, per Woo.

Here’s more from ESPN’s two draft experts:

  • Scoot Henderson had a “highly impressive” workout with the Hornets over the weekend, but Brandon Miller still looks like the favorite to be the pick at No. 2, says Givony. If a team like the Pelicans were willing to include an impact player such as Brandon Ingram in an offer for the second overall pick, that could shake up the top of the draft, but it’s still too early to say whether that’s a realistic possibility, according to Givony.
  • While the Trail Blazers continue to explore trade opportunities at No. 3 and have done due diligence by working out prospects outside of the consensus top three, they seem content to select either Henderson or Miller if they hang onto the pick, Givony reports.
  • Villanova forward Cam Whitmore is receiving consideration from the Rockets at No. 4 and is viewed as one of the leading candidates to be drafted there, along with Amen Thompson, says Woo. If he’s not picked fourth overall, Whitmore seems like a good bet to go fifth, Givony writes, given the makeup of the Pistons‘ roster.
  • Givony suggests that a trade of Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic for Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr. and the No. 10 pick is one scenario that could be “in play.” Based on Givony’s wording, it’s unclear whether that offer has been put on the table by either team or if it has even been seriously considered. But the specific terms suggest it has at least been discussed.
  • Arkansas guard Anthony Black has worked out – or will work out – for several lottery teams, including the Magic (Nos. 6 and 11), Jazz (Nos. 9 and 16), and Mavericks (No. 10), says Woo. The ESPN mock has Black being drafted at No. 8 by the Wizards, who are said to be focused primarily on backcourt players.
  • The Raptors are believed to be a “strong suitor” for Kansas wing Gradey Dick, according to Givony, though there’s also speculation that Toronto could be major movers on the trade market and might not end up picking at No. 13.
  • The Jazz (Nos. 9 and 16) and Thunder (No. 12) sent decision-makers to Europe this week to watch French wing Bilal Coulibaly in the LNB Pro A playoffs, according to Woo, who has Coulibaly coming off the board at No. 14 to the Pelicans in ESPN’s mock.