Cody Williams

Pacific Notes: Lue, Little, Roddy, Suns’ Front Office, Kings

Tyronn Lue has a year left on his contract and the Clippers reportedly want to extend him, but The Athletic’s Shams Charania said on the Up & Adams show (video link) that the parties are not close to any agreement.

“To my knowledge there hasn’t been any progress in those conversations,” Charania stated. Lue stated shortly after the Clippers were eliminated from postseason contention that he’s eager to sign an extension.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns are hamstrung by reaching the second luxury tax apron, which severely limits what they can do in terms of personnel moves. Gerard Bourguet of PHNX Sports explores potential trades involving Nassir Little or David Roddy, noting that Little’s $6.75MM could force the Suns to explore three-team deals if they try to deal him to another team above one of the tax aprons. That’s because apron teams can’t take back more salary than they’re sending out. Roddy’s modest $2.8MM contract includes a team option but they might have to add a draft pick to trade him.
  • The Suns are making some changes to their front office. Assistant general managers Morgan Cato and Trevor Bukstein have not been retained, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets.
  • The Kings have the No. 13 pick but that didn’t deter them from interviewing some of the top prospects at the recent draft combine, according to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. The list of players who met with Kings representatives included Alexandre Sarr, Donovan Clingan, Dalton Knecht, Ja’Kobe Walter, Cody Williams and Sacramento native Jared McCain. Sarr is the considered the favorite to be chosen No. 1 overall, while many draft experts have Clingan in their top three.

Eastern Notes: Hornets Draft, Spoelstra, Bulls Draft, LaVine

The Hornets haven’t had much lottery luck over the years and this one was no different. With Brandon Miller representing the Hornets at the lottery, they dropped from the No. 3 pick to No. 6. “In this process, I don’t think anything is a surprise, just because you never know what can go on here,” Miller told Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer. “I think the main thing here is to always be focused, prepared just for anything because it can go the wrong way. It can go the bad way.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • After receiving an eight-year extension, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra won’t be going to the draft combine. Team president Pat Riley said Spoelstra is getting some much-needed time off. “He deserves it,” Riley said of Spoelstra’s extension, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “He could have been a free agent and gone anywhere. That leads to organizational stability with your players. Players who come to him and his staff and develop, other players see that. All of a sudden, they have career contracts and career opportunities. It’s a credit to him.”
  • The Bulls remained in the No. 11 spot in the aftermath of the lottery. NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson looks at some potential prospects who could land in that area, including Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht, USC’s Isaiah Collier, and Colorado’s Cody Williams.
  • In his Bulls offseason preview for Spotrac.com, Keith Smith says he believes the team will trade Zach LaVine this summer, finding a way to move his contract to a contender in need of scoring punch. DeMar DeRozan‘s free agency is a bit more unpredictable, as the Bulls could re-sign him if they’re intent on remaining a playoff contender. If not, they’ll let him walk and look to rebuild, Smith writes.

Draft Notes: Lottery, Williams, Sarr, Holland, Sheppard, Shannon

This year’s draft lottery isn’t nearly as highly anticipated as the 2023 event that determined which team would get the opportunity to select generational prospect Victor Wembanyama. Still, each team involved in the 2024 lottery would love to come away Sunday with the No. 1 overall pick, as Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo write for ESPN.com (Insider link).

In a team-by-team look at the lottery teams, Givony and Woo explore what’s at stake for each franchise on Sunday and which prospects they’ll be eyeing if they claim a top spot in the draft or if they end up where they are.

Although ESPN’s draft experts have French forward Zaccharie Risacher ranked as the No. 1 prospect in this year’s class, they suggest that both the Wizards and Hornets may prefer another Frenchman (Alexandre Sarr) if they land the top pick, while the Spurs could be an ideal fit for guard Rob Dillingham, whose perimeter shooting and ball-handling would complement Wembanyama’s skill set.

UConn center Donovan Clingan, meanwhile, could be a perfect match for the Grizzlies, who traded away big men Steven Adams and Xavier Tillman earlier this year. Woo also points out that – if he’s still on the board at No. 12 – Colorado prospect Cody Williams would have an opportunity to potentially team up with older brother Jalen Williams on the Thunder.

Here are a few more draft-related items:

  • Cody Williams isn’t the only lottery prospect with an older brother under contract in Oklahoma City — Alexandre Sarr’s older brother Olivier Sarr finished the season on a two-way contract with the Thunder. Marc J. Spears of Andscape spoke to Jalen Williams and Olivier Sarr about the prospect of their younger brothers entering the NBA as high draft picks later this year.
  • Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report have updated their big boards for the 2024 draft, with several notable differences between them. The top two prospects on Wasserman’s board – Ron Holland and Reed Sheppard – don’t crack O’Connor’s top five. O’Connor also published a new mock draft, which has UConn’s Clingan coming off the board at No. 2.
  • Wasserman (via Twitter) shares the rosters for the four teams that will scrimmage at the G League Elite Camp this weekend. The standouts from the event will be invited to participate in the NBA’s draft combine next week.
  • A June 10 trial date set for former Illinois guard Terrence Shannon, the No. 33 prospect on ESPN’s top-100 list, who faces felony charges of first-degree rape and sexual aggravated battery, reports Myron Medcalf of ESPN. Shannon’s attorneys say the trial is expected to conclude before the NBA draft, which takes place on June 26 and 27. He has pleaded not guilty.

Eastern Notes: Pistons, Horst, Butler, Sixers, Hornets, Nets, More

Now that the Bucks‘ season has come to an end, the Pistons are expected to formally seek permission to interview Milwaukee general manager Jon Horst for their president of basketball operations job soon, Marc Stein reports in his latest story at Substack. According to Stein, it’s not yet known whether the Bucks will grant Detroit permission to meet with Horst, a Michigan native who began his NBA career in the Pistons’ basketball operations department.

Elsewhere in his Substack article, Stein says that Jimmy Butler‘s future has become an “increasingly hot topic” around the NBA following the Heat‘s first-round playoff exit. Multiple rival teams have wondered if the Sixers will make a run at trading for Butler this offseason in an effort to reunite the star swingman with good friend Joel Embiid, per Stein. The Embiid/Butler 76ers took the eventual-champion Raptors down to the wire in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2019, but were broken up less than two months later when Butler was signed-and-traded to Miami.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Several executives around the NBA thought the Hornets would have concluded their head coaching search by now, but the team is taking a “very methodical” approach to the process and there’s no specific timeline to make a hire, Rod Boone writes in a mailbag for The Charlotte Observer. Boone’s mailbag also explores Charlotte’s draft strategy and how to revitalize the team’s brand, among other topics.
  • How much of a difference could it make for the Nets to have a healthy Ben Simmons and Dariq Whitehead next season? Net Income of Nets Daily explores that subject, citing league insiders who say Brooklyn has no plans to waive Simmons this offseason.
  • With Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby set to square off in the second round of the playoffs as members of the Pacers and Knicks, respectively, the Raptors will “catch some sass” for trading away both players this season, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Given how well the two forwards have played alongside backcourt stars – Tyrese Haliburton in Indiana and Jalen Brunson in New York – Koreen wonders if things went wrong in Toronto because the club couldn’t find the right “dynamic” guard to allow Siakam and Anunoby to play their proper roles.
  • James L. Edwards III of The Athletic previews next week’s draft combine from a Pistons perspective, identifying the players the club will have its eye on in the top five and naming a few prospects who could make sense at No. 53. Edwards views Alexandre Sarr as the player likeliest to be atop Detroit’s board, with Stephon Castle, Cody Williams, Donovan Clingan, and Matas Buzelis in the next tier.

NBA Announces 78 Invitees For 2024 Draft Combine

The NBA announced today (via Twitter) that 78 prospects have been invited to attend this year’s draft combine, which will take place in Chicago from May 12-19.

In addition to those 78 players, a handful of standout players from the G League Elite Camp, which is also held in Chicago just before the combine begins, are expected to receive invites to stick around for the main event.

Not all of the prospects invited to the combine will end up remaining in the 2024 draft pool, since some are early entrants who are testing the waters while retaining their NCAA eligibility. College players must withdraw from the draft by the end of the day on May 29 if they wish to preserve that eligibility, while non-college players face a decision deadline of June 16. The feedback they receive from NBA teams at the combine may be a deciding factor for players who are on the fence.

Here’s the list of players who have been invited to the 2024 draft combine:

(Note: For players in international leagues, the country listed is where they had been playing, not necessarily where they’re from.)

  1. Michael Ajayi, F, Pepperdine (junior)
  2. Melvin Ajinca, G/F, France (born 2004)
  3. Trey Alexander, G, Creighton (junior)
  4. Izan Almansa, F, G League Ignite (born 2005)
  5. Reece Beekman, G, Virginia (senior)
  6. Adem Bona, F/C, UCLA (sophomore)
  7. Trevon Brazile, F, Arkansas (sophomore)
  8. Jalen Bridges, F, Baylor (senior)
  9. Matas Buzelis, F, G League Ignite (born 2004)
  10. Carlton Carrington, G, Pitt (freshman)
  11. Devin Carter, G, Providence (junior)
  12. Stephon Castle, G, UConn (freshman)
  13. Ulrich Chomche, C, NBA Academy Africa (born 2005)
  14. Cam Christie, G, Minnesota (freshman)
  15. Nique Clifford, G, Colorado State (senior)
  16. Donovan Clingan, C, UConn (sophomore)
  17. Isaiah Collier, G, USC (freshman)
  18. Tristan Da Silva, F, Colorado (senior)
  19. Pacome Dadiet, G/F, Germany (born 2005)
  20. N’Faly Dante, C, Oregon (super-senior)
  21. Rob Dillingham, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  22. Nikola Djurisic, G/F, Serbia (born 2004)
  23. Ryan Dunn, F, Virginia (sophomore)
  24. Zach Edey, C, Purdue (senior)
  25. Justin Edwards, G/F, Kentucky (freshman)
  26. Kyle Filipowski, F/C, Duke (sophomore)
  27. Trentyn Flowers, G/F, Australia (born 2005)
  28. Johnny Furphy, G/F, Kansas (freshman)
  29. Kyshawn George, G/F, Miami (FL) (freshman)
  30. Tyon Grant-Foster, G, Grand Canyon (senior)
  31. PJ Hall, C, Clemson (senior)
  32. Coleman Hawkins, F, Illinois (senior)
  33. Ron Holland, F, G League Ignite (born 2005)
  34. DaRon Holmes II, F, Dayton (junior)
  35. Ariel Hukporti, C, Germany (born 2002)
  36. Oso Ighodaro, F, Marquette (senior)
  37. Harrison Ingram, F, UNC (junior)
  38. Bronny James, G, USC (freshman)
  39. A.J. Johnson, G, Australia (born 2004)
  40. Keshad Johnson, F, Arizona (super-senior)
  41. David Jones, F, Memphis (senior)
  42. Dillon Jones, F, Weber State (senior)
  43. Ryan Kalkbrenner, C, Creighton (senior)
    • Note: Kalkbrenner indicated this week that he intends to return to school, so it’s unclear if he’ll continue to go through the pre-draft process.
  44. Alex Karaban, F, UConn (sophomore)
  45. Bobi Klintman, F, Australia (born 2003)
  46. Dalton Knecht, G, Tennessee (super-senior)
  47. Tyler Kolek, G, Marquette (senior)
  48. Pelle Larsson, G, Arizona (senior)
  49. Jared McCain, G, Duke (freshman)
  50. Kevin McCullar, G, Kansas (super-senior)
  51. Yves Missi, C, Baylor (freshman)
  52. Ajay Mitchell, G, UC Santa Barbara (junior)
  53. Jonathan Mogbo, F/C, San Francisco (senior)
  54. Tristen Newton, G, UConn (super-senior)
  55. Juan Nunez, G, Germany (born 2004)
  56. Quinten Post, F/C, Boston College (super-senior)
  57. Antonio Reeves, G, Kentucky (super-senior)
  58. Zaccharie Risacher, F, France (born 2005)
  59. Jaxson Robinson, G/F, BYU (senior)
  60. Tidjane Salaun, F, France (born 2005)
  61. Hunter Sallis, G, Wake Forest (junior)
  62. Payton Sandfort, G/F, Iowa (junior)
  63. Alexandre Sarr, F/C, Australia (born 2005)
  64. Baylor Scheierman, G/F, Creighton (super-senior)
  65. Mark Sears, G, Alabama (senior)
  66. Terrence Shannon, G, Illinois (super-senior)
  67. Jamal Shead, G, Houston (senior)
  68. Reed Sheppard, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  69. KJ Simpson, G, Colorado (junior)
  70. Tyler Smith, F, G League Ignite (born 2004)
  71. Cam Spencer, G, UConn (super-senior)
  72. Nikola Topic, G, Serbia (born 2005)
  73. JT Toppin, F, New Mexico (freshman)
  74. Jaylon Tyson, G, California (junior)
  75. Ja’Kobe Walter, G, Baylor (freshman)
  76. Kel’el Ware, C, Indiana (sophomore)
  77. Jamir Watkins, G/F, Florida State (junior)
  78. Cody Williams, F, Colorado (freshman)

It’s worth noting that the NBA and the NBPA agreed to a few combine-related changes in their latest Collective Bargaining Agreement. Here are a few of those changes:

  • A player who is invited to the draft combine and declines to attend without an excused absence will be ineligible to be drafted. He would become eligible the following year by attending the combine. There will be exceptions made for a player whose FIBA season is ongoing, who is injured, or who is dealing with a family matter (such as a tragedy or the birth of a child).
  • Players who attend the draft combine will be required to undergo physical exams, share medical history, participate in strength, agility, and performance testing, take part in shooting drills, receive anthropometric measurements, and conduct interviews with teams and the media. Scrimmages won’t be mandatory.
  • Medical results from the combine will be distributed to select teams based on where the player is projected to be drafted. Only teams drafting in the top 10 would get access to medical info for the projected No. 1 pick; teams in the top 15 would receive medical info for players in the 2-6 range, while teams in the top 25 would get access to info for the players in the 7-10 range.

Regarding that last point, Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link) has the details on the top 10 played out this year, noting that the composite ranking was generated based on a combination of publicly available rankings and feedback from a panel of experts, as well as a retained-scouting service.

Sarr is considered the No. 1 overall prospect, per Givony, so only teams drafting in the top 10 will get access to his medicals. Buzelis, Castle, Clingan, Risacher, and Topic are in the 2-6 range, while Dillingham, Holland, Knecht, and Sheppard round out the top 10.

Colorado’s Cody Williams Entering 2024 NBA Draft

Colorado freshman forward Cody Williams, a projected lottery pick who is currently No. 10 on ESPN’s big board, is declaring for the 2024 NBA Draft, he told Adrian Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

In 24 games for the Buffaloes in 2023/24 (28.4 MPG), Williams averaged 11.9 PPG, 3.0 RPG and 1.6 APG on a .552/.415/.714 shooting line. He’s considered one of the top defenders in the 2024 class, according to ESPN.

At one point, Williams was considered a contender for the top overall pick, ranking No. 2 in ESPN’s mock draft in February. However, minor injuries limited his effectiveness toward the end of the season, per Wojnarowski and Givony.

In addition to scoring efficiently, particularly in the open court, Williams was frequently tasked with defending the opposing teams’ top scorer, ESPN’s duo adds. The Arizona native is the young brother of Thunder forward Jalen Williams.

Eastern Notes: Hunter, Pistons’ Draft, Fournier, Suggs

The Hawks have won six of their last 11 games despite the absence of Trae Young and some other key players. De’Andre Hunter has played a major role in keeping the Hawks afloat while they’re shorthanded. In the last 11 games, Hunter is averaging 16.9 points on 50.4% shooting from the field and 43.9% from beyond the arc, The Athletic’s Law Murray notes.

“He’s playing really well,” Hawks head coach Quin Snyder said. “We just want him really on offense just to attack, to be in attack mode. And he’s embraced that. And he’s a fun guy to coach and a heck of a player.”

Hunter has been the subject of trade rumors for the past year, but the Hawks are in position to keep him long-term if they so choose — he’s under contract through the 2026/27 season on a deal that will pay him nearly $70MM over the next three years.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • There are no surefire stars in this year’s draft but Pistons fans need something to focus on besides the team’s poor record. The Athletic’s James Edwards III takes a look at seven prospects participating in the NCAA Tournament who might interest Detroit’s front office, including Colorado’s Cody Williams, UConn’s Stephon Castle and Duke’s Kyle Filipowski.
  • Pistons guard Evan Fournier has been fined $25K for kicking the game ball into the spectator stands on Sunday, the NBA announced (via Twitter). Fournier was frustrated when the Heat’s Bam Adebayo hit a game-winning 30-foot shot in the Pistons’ 104-101 loss.
  • Magic coach Jamahl Mosley believes Jalen Suggs should be heavily considered for the NBA’s All-Defensive Team, Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. “When Jalen is healthy and he’s good to go, he is a first-team All-Defensive player,”  Mosley said. “He cares and wants to defend.” Suggs will be eligible for a rookie scale extension after the season.

And-Ones: China, Filipowski, Williams, Mock Draft, Scariolo

Nets owner Joe Tsai believes the NBA is interested in resuming its relationship with China, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. In an interview Friday with CNBC, Tsai said previous tensions have thawed and preseason games may return to the country.

“I think the NBA is in a very good place with respect to its relationship with China,” Tsai said. “China is actually the NBA’s biggest fan base. So what happened before, I think it’s water under the bridge.”

China’s leaders were upset in 2019 when Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, who was with the Rockets at the time, tweeted his support for anti-government protesters. Beijing responded by pulling the NBA off state-sponsored CCTV for almost two years, and commissioner Adam Silver estimated in 2021 that the dispute cost his league $400MM.

Tsai believes the NBA needs to include China as part of its appeal to a global market.

“I think just having the fans have real, in-person sort of interaction with the stars,” Tsai said. “I think that’s going to be important.”

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • Projected lottery pick Kyle Filipowski of Duke suffered a sprained ankle Saturday when Wake Forest fans stormed the court after a victory over the Blue Devils, per Aaron Beard of The Associated Press. The incident, combined with Iowa star Caitlin Clark being knocked down under similar circumstances last month, have sparked a debate about banning students from running onto the court. “Just trying to get my way off the court, and you know, you’ve got these crazy college students just doing whatever they want,” Filipowski said. “It’s got to be a little more protective when things like that happen.”
  • Jeremy Woo of ESPN (subscription required) examines the case for Colorado’s Cody Williams as the top pick in this year’s draft. Woo notes that the 6’8″ Williams has “viable guard skills” and often takes on a play-maker role in the Buffaloes’ offense. He’s connecting at 47.1% on three-pointers in limited attempts, and Woo sees him developing into an above average shooter. NBA scouts tell Woo that Williams would be a mid- to late-lottery pick in a stronger draft, but the absence of standout talent has him in consideration to be the first player off the board.
  • French center Alexandre Sarr tops the latest mock draft from Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Rounding out Wasserman’s top five are Nikola Topic, Zaccharie Risacher, Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland.
  • The new president of the Spanish Federation wants former Raptors assistant Sergio Scariolo to continue coaching the national team for the next four years, according to Eurohoops.

Draft Notes: Buzelis, Ignite, Risacher, Sarr, Mocks

Matas Buzelis, who was the No. 1 prospect in the very first 2024 mock draft that ESPN’s Jonathan Givony published a year ago, had slipped to 10th in ESPN’s prospect rankings last month, but has rebounded nicely as of late, Givony writes in an Insider-only story.

After missing the first part of the G League season due to ankle problems, Buzelis has shown off an improved three-point shot in recent weeks (38.5% in his past 10 games) and has been better on the defensive end of the court, according to Givony, who notes that the Ignite guard/forward made an impact at All-Star weekend, hitting a game-winning shot in the Rising Stars semifinal on Friday.

While Buzelis hasn’t reclaimed that No. 1 spot on ESPN’s big board, he’s back up to No. 6. And, as Givony observes, in a class with no obvious top prospect, a strong finish to the G League season could put the 19-year-old back in the conversation for that first overall pick.

Here are a few more notes on the 2024 NBA draft:

  • Givony and Jeremy Woo of ESPN.com (Insider link) examine where things stand for the G League Ignite, noting that Adam Silver‘s comments at All-Star weekend suggest that the program’s days may be numbered. The Ignite are just 2-19 this season and player development has been inconsistent due to the lack of quality guard play, Woo writes. Still, it seems safe to assume the Ignite will be back for the 2024/25 season, since prospects like Dink Pate and Thierry Darlan are under contract for another year and the program continues to actively recruit high-profile prospects.
  • International prospects Zaccharie Risacher and Alexandre Sarr top the latest mock draft from Givony and Woo, with Kentucky’s Rob Dillingham at No. 3, Buzelis at No. 4, and Colorado’s Cody Williams at No. 5.
  • Risacher and Sarr are also the two players first off the board in the newest mock draft from Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. However, there are significant deviations from ESPN’s mock draft beyond that, starting with Serbian point guard Nikola Topic (No. 3) and Connecticut wing Stephon Castle (No. 5) cracking Vecenie’s top five. Topic is at No. 6 in ESPN’s mock, while Castle is all the way down at No. 15.
  • Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports has also published a new mock draft for 2024, with Sarr claiming the top spot.

And-Ones: U.S. Olympic Team, Paris, Sarr, Topic, Mock Draft

USA Basketball is expected to begin the process of selecting the 2024 Olympic team before the end of January, sources tell Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The organization will begin contacting 35 to 40 names on a list of players, most of whom have either Olympic or World Cup experience, according to Vardon. His sources say the list, which includes a few names from the 2023 World Cup team, will be made public within the next few weeks.

Managing director Grant Hill and coach Steve Kerr have indicated that the “player pools” system may be eliminated, which means invitations will be sent out privately rather than asking established stars to attend tryouts. Vardon notes that last year’s World Cup team was formed this way, but with heavy interest around the NBA in being part of Team USA, there might be benefits to keeping the pool system in place.

With the Nets and Cavaliers in Paris for today’s international game, players are receiving questions about possibly returning to the city for the Olympics this summer, Vardon adds.

“Just waiting to see — if (the invite) comes, it comes,” said Mikal Bridges, who played a prominent role on the 2023 World Cup team. “I don’t think I bear my head on it too much, because I’m so locked in on trying to figure out everything here (with the Nets).”

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today looks at the emergence of Paris as a basketball city due to the upcoming Olympics, the impact that Victor Wembanyama is having on the NBA and the status of several French players in this year’s draft. In addition, the NBA announced a partnership on Wednesday with the French Basketball League and the LBN that includes a development program for elite prospects.
  • Projected top-five picks Alexandre Sarr and Nikola Topic are currently sidelined with injuries, but that shouldn’t affect their draft stock, according to Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo of ESPN. With no clear consensus at the top of this year’s draft, the authors admit that playing as many games as possible would be beneficial, but they point out that Sarr and Topic already have established resumes in place. They add that there was concern that Sarr’s hip injury might mark the end of his NBL career in Australia, but he seems determined to finish the season. “We are winning and my goal is to make the playoffs and get the furthest I can,” Sarr said recently. “I’m having fun out there and competing for something. It’s the first time in my life where I’m part of a league where I’m really trying to win something at the end.”
  • Sarr holds onto the No. 1 spot in the latest mock draft from Givony and Woo (Insider subscription required). Rounding out the top five are French wing Zaccharie Risacher, Colorado small forward Cody Williams, Baylor guard Ja’Kobe Walter and Topic.