B.J. Young

Southwest Rumors: Young, Pelicans, Belinelli

The Southwest Division could be the NBA’s toughest this year, with five teams that have legitimate playoff hopes. The two Southwest clubs that played for the conference title last year, the Spurs and Grizzlies, meet for a rematch on Wednesday in the first of a season of key clashes. Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • B.J. Young drew interest from the Sixers and Lakers before deciding to join the Rockets for camp, according to Shams Charania of RealGM.com. He was the first player the Rockets cut from their training camp roster, hitting waivers nearly a month ago, but he’ll sign a deal with Houston’s D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Charania adds. Since he’s apparently signing directly with the Vipers instead of entering the D-League draft, that means the Rockets made him one of the three camp cuts whose D-League rights they can protect.
  • Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday are the major new arrivals for the Pelicans this year, and both shared insight on how the team’s new-look backcourt is coming together. Evans also spoke to HoopsWorld’s Alex Kennedy about his experience as a free agent, comparing it to college recruiting, while Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune points out that Holiday is the fourth starting point guard for the team in as many years.
  • Ken Rodriguez of Spurs.com examines the connection between a pair of San Antonio’s offseason signees. Marco Belinelli refers to Manu Ginobili as his “idol,” and it’s worth noting that Belinelli agreed to join the Spurs this summer shortly after the team reached a new deal with Ginobili.

Rockets Release B.J. Young

The Rockets have reduced their training camp roster to 18 players, announcing today that B.J. Young has been released, according to Jason Friedman of Rockets.com (Twitter link). The team will have to cut at least three more players before opening night to get down to 15 players, the regular season limit.

Young, 20, went undrafted out of Arkansas in June after deciding to forgo his remaining two years of NCAA eligibility. The Rockets inked him to a deal in July, guaranteeing him $40K in his rookie year, but the team ultimately opened camp with more than 15 players on fully or partially guaranteed deals, so at least one of those players needed to be cut. Young represents the first camp casualty for Houston, though perhaps he'll end up with the club's D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

With Young no longer in the mix, the Rockets figure to land on a 15-man roster that includes some combination of their 13 guaranteed players, their two partially guaranteed players (Ronnie Brewer, Reggie Williams), and their three non-guaranteed players (Patrick Beverley, Jordan Henriquez, Greg Smith).

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Rockets Sign Robert Covington, B.J. Young

MONDAY, 12:11pm: The Rockets have officially announced the signings of both Covington and Young in a press release. Isaiah Canaan's signing was formally announced within the same release.

SUNDAY, 12:40pm: Robert Covington went undrafted out of Tennessee State last month, but he reportedly reached an agreement on a partially guaranteed two-year deal with the Rockets soon after the draft. It appears the deal has been finalized, as Covington tweets that he's signed his contract, and GM Daryl Morey also took to Twitter to welcome him to the team. Morey also welcomed former Arkansas point guard B.J. Young in the same tweet, though no official announcement has been made.

The 6'7" Covington averaged 17.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as a senior last season for Tennessee State, which competes in the Ohio Valley Conference. The 22-year-old saw fewer minutes per outing for the Rockets summer league team in Orlando this past week, but he still managed 12.4 PPG and 5.0 RPG in 23.4 MPG.

The partial guarantee on Covington's deal is likely around $150K, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress noted when he broke the story of his agreement last month. Presumably, the full amount is equivalent to the minimum salary.

Draft Workout Updates: Friday

With the 2013 draft less than two weeks away, the majority of the NBA's teams are continuing to bring in prospects to get a closer look at them. Here are the latest updates on draft workouts:

  • In addition to Michael Carter-Williams, who we heard about yesterday, Trey Burke and Alex Len also participated in the Pelicans' first draft workout today, tweets Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com.
  • The Pistons won't start working out players for the No. 8 pick until next week, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, who tweets that Mason Plumlee will work out for the club next Friday.
  • The six players scheduled to work out for the Nets on Monday include C.J. Leslie and Tony Mitchell, according to a team release.
  • Ray McCallum, Brandon Paul, Tony Snell, Nate Wolters, Jack Cooley, and Zeke Marshall worked out for the Trail Blazers today, according to Joe Freeman of the Oregonian (Twitter link).
  • The Timberwolves will work out six players on Sunday, according to the team's PR Twitter account: Shabazz Muhammad, Archie Goodwin, Rodney Williams, James Ennis, Kyle Barone, and Jamelle Hagins (Twitter links).
  • Brandon Davies, Mike Muscala, Elijah Johnson, B.J. Young, Grant Jerrett, and Colton Iverson worked out for the Clippers today, tweets Clips reporter Madelyn Burke.
  • Jerrett and Davies are also among the players who will work out for the Jazz tomorrow, along with Snell, Gorgui Dieng, Jamaal Franklin, Isaiah Canaan, and Kelly Olynyk, among others (link via Utah's official site).

Draft Updates: Jaiteh, 76ers, Bobcats, Workouts

As June 27th inches closer, here are today's draft-related items:

  • Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer relays a report (via the News Herald) which confirms that Anthony Bennett will visit the Cavaliers on Monday. The 6'8 forward will not work out for the club, as he is still recovering from rotator cuff surgery. 
  • The Timberwolves are expected to host Shabazz Muhammad and Archie Goodwin for workouts on Sunday, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. 

Earlier updates:

  • With the deadline for international prospects to withdraw from the draft coming on Monday, Mouhammadou Jaiteh is considering pulling his name out, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld. Kennedy says a decision is expected to come by Saturday for Jaiteh, who will only stay in if he'll be a first-round pick.
  • Kennedy adds within the same piece that the 76ers are one of several teams looking to acquire a pick late in the first round.
  • ESPN.com's David Thorpe (Insider link) believes Anthony Bennett would be an ideal fit for the Bobcats.
  • Although his stock has taken a hit lately, Shabazz Muhammad still has a chance to be drafted in the top 10, tweets Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com.
  • The Pelicans will get their workouts underway on Friday, and Michael Carter-Williams is expected to be in attendance, tweets John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
  • Chris Babb, Tim Hardaway Jr., Solomon Hill, Tony Mitchell, Andrew Smith, and Axel Toupane will work out for the Pacers on Friday, the team announced today.
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel tweets that Ben McLemore is working out for the Magic, who have the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.
  • The Lakers worked out the following prospects today, according to the team's official Twitter account: Kenny Kadji, Peyton Siva, Brandon Triche, Dewaye Dedmon, C.J. Harris, and B.J. Young.
  • The Wizards announced their Friday workout participants, while the Bucks (Twitter link) announced the players who worked out for them today. Both groups consist primarily of second-round prospects, with the exception of Otto Porter in Washington.

Draft Workout Updates: Thursday

We're now just three weeks away from the 2013 draft, so teams are busy bringing in prospects to meet with them and work them out, while we do our best to keep tabs on as many of those workouts as we can. Here's the latest:

  • Tom Housenick of The Morning Call reported that C.J. McCollum will visit Portland at some point for a workout before June 20th.
  • Chris Haynes of CSNNW tweets that Trevor Mbakwe will visit the Trail Blazers tomorrow. 
  • The Kings released a list of players who have worked out for them via their team website, noting that guards Will CherryTravis Releford, Brandon Triche, forward Chris Evans, and centers Rudy Gobert and Aziz N'Diaye took part in workouts this past Monday. Former Michigan star Trey Burke is scheduled to come in tomorrow. 
  • The Wizards plan to bring in C.J. Aiken, Junior Cadougan, Ella Ellis, Lamont Jones, A.J. Matthews, and Mike Muscala in for Friday workouts, as per the team's official website
  • Jody Genessy of the Deseret News tweets that Steven Adams, Jack Cooley, Richard Howell, Kenny Kadji, Dennis Schroeder, and Peyton Siva are all scheduled for a pre-draft workout with the Jazz on Friday. 

Earlier updates:

  • Mason Plumlee, Shabazz Muhammad, Kelly Olynyk, Norvel Pelle, and Scott Wood worked out for the Sixers today, tweets Tyler R. Tynes of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Plumlee will also work out for the Trail Blazers on June 19th and for the Pistons on June 21st, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com and Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).
  • Michael Lee of the Washington Post reports that Otto Porter will work out for the Wizards on June 14th.
  • The Timberwolves expect to bring in C.J. McCollum for a workout, says Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (via Twitter).
  • Working out for the Suns today, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld (via Twitter): McCollum, Trey Burke, Michael Carter-Williams, Mouhammadou Jaiteh, Shane Larkin, Zeke Marshall, and Korie Lucious.
  • Gorgui Dieng's agent confirms that his client will work out for both the Nets and Knicks, as Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com details.
  • The Grizzlies announced in a press release that James Southerland, Will Clyburn, B.J. Young, Dewayne Dedmon, Colton Iverson, and Sherwood Brown will work out for the club tomorrow.
  • The Knicks will work out the following prospects tomorrow, per the team's Twitter feed: Ricky Ledo, Tahj Tate, Adonis Thomas, Christian Watford, Tony Mitchell, and Grant Jerrett.
  • Jeff Withey worked out for the Bulls yesterday, according to Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago.com (via Twitter).

Draft Notes: McLemore, Magic, Saric, Bennett

Chris Mannix of SI.com hands out his draft superlatives, with an assist from scouts and executives. Anthony Bennett has the greatest superstar potential, Mannix writes, while Victor Oladipo could be the most resounding bust. It'll be a while before we can definitively say whether Mannix was correct on either account, but much more becomes clear with each passing day until June 27th. After passing along the latest this morning, we'll follow with with an evening draft roundup:
  • Ben McLemore has reportedly slipped behind Victor Oladipo in the eyes of the Magic, but Orlando will have McLemore in for a workout June 11th, reports Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. (Twitter links). Keith Clanton, Erik Murphy, Michael Snaer and Kenny Boynton, all products of Florida colleges, are auditioning for the Magic either today or tomorrow, Robbins adds.
  • Chad Ford of ESPN.com chatted with readers, revealing that top-level scouts believe Dario Saric to be on par with Otto Porter and that the Wizards and Bobcats are especially high on Anthony Bennett.
  • Korie Lucious worked out for the Bucks today and did so for the Pistons earlier this week, according to Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. D.J. Stephens, another participant in today's Bucks workout, has also drawn interest from the Pistons and Grizzlies.
  • Jody Genessy of the Deseret News had the news on six players working out for the Jazz today, and he tweets word of six more set to hit Utah on Thursday: Glen Rice Jr.,Vander BlueJack Cooley, Solomon Hill, Pierre Jackson and Trevor Mbakwe.
  • Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic adds second-round hopefuls E.J. Singler and Jared Berggren to the list of players who worked out for the Suns today (Twitter link).
  • B.J. Young, Brandon Paul, Reggie Bullock, Romero Osby, Kenny Kadji and James Ennis are among the prospects working out Thursday for the Knicks, the team announced via Twitter
  • Ennis, Steven Adams, Rudy Gobert, Mike Muscala, Cody Zeller, Jeff Withey, Shabazz Muhammad, Rodney Williams, Reggie Bullock, Kelly Olynyk and Tony Snell will all audition for Minnesota in the coming weeks, Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders tweets. He also lists "Thomas," likely in reference to Deshaun Thomas or Adonis Thomas.
  • The Wizards announced they'll put Deshaun ThomasKeion Bell, Laurence Bowers, D.J. Seeley, James Southerland and Khalif Wyatt through a workout tomorrow.

Draft Notes: Noel, Jones, Franklin, Mitchell

Andy Katz of ESPN noted earlier that Nerlens Noel will visit with the Magic this Sunday, and is yet to schedule a meeting with the Cavaliers. The potential number one pick is up six pounds (from 206 to 212) since the Chicago Pre-Draft Camp two weeks ago, and isn’t expected to visit any other teams beyond Orlando and Cleveland unless a team trades up to the first or second draft slots or there is a strong sense that a deal gets done (All Twitter links). We’ll keep you posted on anything draft related tonight below:

  • The Wizards are slated to bring in Archie Goodwin, Peyton Siva, Mike Muscala, James Southerland, Will Clyburn, Adonis Thomas, Khalif Wyatt, and Romero Osby for workouts starting on Monday. Otto Porter, Victor Oladipo, and Ben McLemore may be among the next wave of prospects to work out for the team during the following week.
  • SNYtv’s Josh Newman passes along that Iona standout Lamont Jones is set to work out for the Nets on June 20. Jones is the second confirmed prospect set to work out for Brooklyn, who will also take a look at San Diego State product Jamaal Franklin at a date yet to be determined (Twitter links).
  • Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reports that the Trail Blazers brought in six draft hopefuls in for predraft workouts today, among them being a projected first-rounder in Tony Mitchell. Joining the North Texas big man were second round prospects Richard HowellDexter StricklandAdonis ThomasBJ Young, and James Ennis. Freeman profiled each of today’s visitors in a separate piece.
  • Hoopworld’s Alex Kennedy presents his list of 10 possible steals in this year’s draft.
  • Although the Pistons GM Joe Dumars acknowledged that the team’s preference would be to draft a viable wing player, he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of drafting the best available big man by the time Detroit is on the clock with the eighth pick (Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press).
  • According to this article from NBA.com, the Timberwolves hosted Tim Hardaway Jr., Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Ricky Ledo, Allen Crabbe, Mouphtaou Yarou, and Gregory Echenique for workouts today.

B.J. Young To Enter NBA Draft

Arkansas guard B.J. Young announced today that he will forgo his final two years of college eligibility and enter the NBA draft, according to Matt Jones of the Northwest Arkansas News.

Young, 19, averaged 15.2 PPG and 3.4 APG in his sophomore year with the Razorbacks. Various draft experts project Young as a borderline first-round pick this year, with Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com ranking him 27th overall and ESPN.com's Chad Ford placing him 34th. Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com expects the combo guard to be an early second-round pick (Twitter link).

It's not clear whether or not Young will hire an agent. A year ago, he declared his intent to enter the draft, but didn't hire an agent and eventually withdrew, regaining his NCAA eligibility.

You can check out our complete list of early entrants for the 2013 NBA draft, which includes Young's Arkansas teammate Marshawn Powell, right here.

Draft Decisions: Tuesday

Today marks the NCAA's deadline for underclassmen to withdraw their names from consideration for this year's NBA draft. As we previously outlined, today isn't necessary a hard deadline, but plenty of prospects will be announcing their decisions today, if they haven't already. We'll track those decisions here, with the latest up top:

  • B.J. Young, who previously entered the draft, has withdrawn his name from consideration, according to an Associated Press report (via ESPN.com). The Arkansas freshman was able to back out because he hadn't hired an agent.
  • Jeremy Lamb of Connecticut will enter the draft, according to UConn's assistant director of athletic communications Phil Chardis (via Twitter). The sophomore guard is ranked as the 12th-best prospect by both DraftExpress and ESPN.com.
  • Junior forward Mason Plumlee has decided to return to Duke for his senior season, according to Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com.
  • Oregon State guard Jared Cunningham will forgo his senior year and enter the draft, according to Gary Horowitz of the Statesman Journal. The junior figures to be a second-round pick at best, ranking 66th on DraftExpress' top 100 prospects list and 96th on Chad Ford's ESPN.com list, but he must have liked what he heard when he tested the draft waters.
  • Vanderbilt's John Jenkins announced Monday that he will enter the draft, according to The Tennessean. The junior guard ranks 36th on DraftExpress and 40th on ESPN.com.
  • Junior forward Christian Watford will return to Indiana for his senior year, reports Jeff Rabjohns of Peegs.com (via Twitter). Watford's teammate, freshman Cody Zeller, will also return to school, the team announced today (hat tip to Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports via Twitter). The freshman was projected to be a potential lottery pick.