C.J. Aiken

Grant Jerrett Tops Field Of D-League Draftees

The Thunder’s D-League affiliate used the No. 1 overall pick in tonight’s D-League draft on Grant Jerrett, allowing the Thunder to closely monitor a player whose NBA rights also belong to them. Oklahoma City traded for Jerrett shortly after the Blazers took him 40th overall in June’s NBA draft. A report in September indicated Jerrett had signed with the Thunder-owned Tulsa 66ers, but as I pointed out at the time, he’d have to enter the D-League draft rather than sign with Tulsa outright. The 66ers pulled off a trade yesterday to acquire the No. 1 pick in the D-League draft, positioning themselves to secure Jerrett’s D-League rights.

The Pelicans didn’t do the same with the second-rounder they picked up in the Jrue Holiday/Nerlens Noel trade. Pierre Jackson, the 42nd overall pick in the NBA draft, went fourth overall in the D-League draft to the Idaho Stampede, the affiliate of the Blazers.

The Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the one-to-one affiliate of the Rockets, took four-year NBA vet James Johnson second overall tonight, while Quincy Douby, who has three years of NBA experience, went at No. 3 to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the affiliate of the Heat. The Texas Legends, who are affiliated with the Mavs, rounded out the top five with their selection of C.J. Aiken, who was in an NBA camp with the Kings last month after leaving St. Joseph’s in the spring.

Ricky Davis was perhaps the most well-known figure selected, as the Erie BayHawks, the affiliate of the Knicks, drafted him in the sixth round, signaling that the Knicks liked what they saw when the 34-year-old worked out for them in September. Other notable picks include former Magic and Thunder swingman DeAndre Liggins, who went to the Skyforce at seventh overall. Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the brother of Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo, went at No. 9 to the Delaware 87ers. Check out the entire list of draftees right here.

Some D-League clubs were involved in draft day trades. The Santa Cruz Warriors came into the draft already stocked with Stephen Curry‘s brother Seth Curry, whose D-League rights Golden State had protected after cutting him at the end of camp. Santa Cruz swapped a second-round pick for Mychel Thompson, brother of Golden State sharpshooter Klay Thompson, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports writes, giving the Warriors’ affiliate their own version of the big club’s “Splash Brothers” duo.

Players with prior D-League experience who were cut from NBA camps can re-enter the D-League and go back to their old teams without entering the draft. That’s what James Nunnally, fresh off a camp appearance with the Suns, has decided to do, as he’ll return to the Bakersfield Jam, reports Shams Charania of RealGM.com. The Suns are one of five NBA teams affiliated with the Jam, as our list of NBA/D-League affiliations shows.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Lakers, Fredette, Salmons

New Kings coach Michael Malone sat down with Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee over the weekend for a very interesting chat on the events that led up to his hiring and his vision for the future of the club.  Kings fans haven’t seen their club in the postseason in seven years and they’ve had to deal with speculation over a possible move for the last couple, but things finally seem to be heading in the right direction for Sacramento.  Here’s more out of the Pacific Division..

  • Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld looks at trade situations to look out for in 2013/14 and writes that the Lakers have a few pieces that could be in play.  They have some attractive expiring contracts in Steve Blake ($4MM), Jordan Hill ($3.5MM), and Jodie Meeks ($1.55MM) that could hold value around the trade deadline when the deals have mostly been paid off by the Lakers.  None of those three are going net a major return, but a team with playoff aspirations might be willing to deal for one of them as a rental.
  • Kyler also looks at the Kings, who are no longer focused on moving DeMarcus Cousins and see him as a big part of their future.  They are rumored to be ready to move on from Jimmer Fredette, but he’ll have to play well early in the season to have trade value.  John Salmons could be a trade chip as he makes $7.58MM this year with just $1MM of his $7MM in guaranteed in the following season.
  • After playing in the Las Vegas and Orlando summer leagues, forward C.J. Aiken has decided to go to mini-camp with the Kings, the St. Joseph’s product tells Garrett Miley of City Of Basketball Love.

Odds & Ends: Billups, Cavs, Felton

Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida spoke with the ClippersChauncey Billups, who said the Pistons might have won consecutive titles after their surprise victory over the Lakers in 2004, if they had drafted more wisely in the acclaimed 2003 draft, in which they picked second. 

Pistons general manager Joe Dumars famously drafted Darko Milicic with their second pick (LeBron James was number one, obviously), and bypassed future stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Milicic was a bust, and doesn't want to return to the NBA after leaving the Celtics in November of last year.

Despite pushing the Spurs to a game 7 in 2005, and making six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals dating from 2002 to 2008, those early- and mid-2000s Pistons teams never again won the title. Said Billups (Sulia link):

If he had drafted either Melo or Bosh, I think maybe that whole team would still be together. We probably would have more championships down the road. But this is the NBA and things happen. But, of course, I always think about that.’’

Dumars took a risk drafting the Serbian Milicic that year, and that's what every general manager is fretting about right now as we come up on the last four days before the 2013 draft. Here's what else is happening around the league before Thursday's action-packed night.  

Draft Rumors: Saturday

The Raptors don't have a pick in either round, but Marc Stein of ESPN.com hears they're trying to acquire a second-rounder, if not a first-round choice, by draft time (Twitter link). That echoes comments that GM Masai Ujiri made in interviews last week indicating his desire to trade for a pick, as Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun points out via Twitter. There are sure to be more rumors about teams exchanging picks in the coming days as one of the most unpredictable drafts in recent memory approaches. Here's more: 

  • The Blazers posted profiles of today's workout participants on the team website, though Peyton Siva, the first player on the list, sprained an ankle before the audition and didn't take part, as fellow prospect Mike Muscala tells The Oregonian's Joe Freeman (Twitter link). Muscala, Elijah Johnson, Michael Snaer, Chris Evans and Jackie Carmichael were the others in for the workout. 
  • Siva will consult his agent about whether to pull out of his final two scheduled workouts, for the Pacers and Clippers, reports Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com (Twitter link).
  • Muscala will fly to Cleveland, ostensibly to work out for the Cavs, according to his Twitter feed (hat tip to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune).
  • C.J. Aiken was scheduled to work out Monday for the Sixers, but he'll instead be doing so for the Pistons that day, agent Stephen Pina tells Tom Moore of Phillyburbs.com. It will be Aiken's second audition for Detroit.
  • The Celtics will work out big men Kelly Olynyk and Lucas Nogueira next week, tweets Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald.
  • Carrick Felix set a conditioning run record at a Suns workout today that also included Reggie Bullock, Solomon Hill, James Southerland, Brandon Triche and Elias Harris, notes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic (All Twitter links).
  • Brandon Paul has worked out for 14 teams, as he details to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.

Draft Notes: Blazers, Nets, Hawks, Pacers

A few notes regarding draft prospects and the various teams they're meeting with throughout the league. 

  • Maryland center Alex Len reportedly worked out with the Trail Blazers last week, reports OregonLive.com's Sean Meagher. Standing seven feet tall, Len would provide Portland with stabilizing rim protection, something they sorely lacked last season.
  • The Nets worked out several wing players who've shined at making plays off the dribble, including Reggie Bullock, Tony Snell, and Archie Goodwin, according to the New York Post's Fred Kerber.
  • The Hawks are set to work out St. Joseph's C.J. Aiken, a 6'9" forward who's already worked out for several NBA teams and is projected to go undrafted, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Tyler Tynes.
  • According to an official release from the team, the Pacers will hold a work out for Iowa State's Will Clyburn, Virginia Commonwealth's Troy Daniels, North Carolina State's C.J. Leslie, Missouri's Alex Oriakhi, Syracuse's James Southerland, and Ohio State's DeShaun Thomas.
  • The Bucks will work out Tony Mitchell, James Ennis, Solomon Hill, Adonis Thomas, Trey McKinney Jones, and Steven Pledger, according to a tweet from the team's PR account. 
  • The Timberwolves are scheduled to work out six players on Thursday, according to a tweet from the team's PR account. 

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).