Colby Jones

Pacific Notes: Thomas, Thompson, Kawhi, Harden, Jones

Having earned a rest-of-season commitment from the Suns, Isaiah Thomas isn’t looking to just play out this season and then call it a career. He views his comeback this spring as a “stepping stone” toward continuing his playing career beyond 2023/24, he told reporters on Tuesday (Twitter video link via Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic).

“I want to play two to three more years,” Thomas said. “Knowing that I can still play a high level, knowing that I can still impact a locker room. That’s a positive, being able to be signed for the rest of the year and to hopefully build some momentum going into next year for myself, and into free agency.”

Thomas added that he appreciates the Suns welcoming him “with open arms” and that he likes it “a lot” in Phoenix, signaling that he’d be open to remaining with the team beyond this season if that interest is reciprocated.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Asked by teammate Draymond Green on his podcast about what factors will be most important to him during his upcoming free agency, Warriors wing Klay Thompson admitted that his contract situation weighed on him earlier this season and that it took some time for him to stop stressing about it and focus on having fun. “I want to re-sign with the Dubs, but I also have to prioritize my mental health and lay out what is important to me at this point in my career,” Thompson said (Twitter video link).
  • Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard will miss a fifth consecutive game due to right knee inflammation on Tuesday vs. Phoenix, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Los Angeles is a single win away from clinching a top-six seed and a playoff berth, but will obviously need Leonard healthy to make a deep postseason run.
  • James Harden‘s status for Tuesday’s game is up in the air, as he has been added to the Clippers‘ injury report with right foot inflammation, notes Youngmisuk (Twitter link).
  • Could Colby Jones join the likes of Keon Ellis and Davion Mitchell and become the latest Kings youngster to go from out of the rotation to playing a key role? Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee explores that question after Jones played the final six minutes of Friday’s loss to Boston and then logged a career-high 23 minutes in Sunday’s blowout win over Brooklyn. Jones was a +34 in 29 total minutes across those two appearances.

Pacific Notes: Mann, Little, Jones, Green

Clippers forward Terance Mann earned the fifth spot in L.A.’s starting rotation, impressing with his versatility and ability to guard multiple positions, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes. Mann joins Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Ivica Zubac in the starting five.

Even though the Clippers held a training camp battle for that starting forward spot, their valuation of the fifth-year guard/forward has been sky-high all summer. As noted by Youngmisuk, the Clippers and Sixers continue to hold trade talks surrounding James Harden, but the hold-up between the two teams has long been the potential inclusion of Mann.

Mann said that being involved in speculation all summer was taxing at first, but his veteran teammates helped him learn to shut down the outside noise, according to Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. Being wanted by two teams isn’t all that surprising to Mann, who went from being a second-round pick to a rotation staple, Greif writes.

[It’s] flattering, but it’s what I worked for,” Mann said. “I’m in the gym every day to make myself better, to make myself a piece in this league that people want and that’s what I strive to just be. I’m not surprised by it.

Mann’s teammates and coaches are all high on his ability to contribute to winning basketball and the Clippers see keeping Mann and adding Harden as their best route to a championship, Greif writes.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • After developing into a rotation player over the past four seasons with the Trail Blazers, new Suns forward Nassir Little is acclimating to a new environment. “Just getting accustomed to everything in the organization,” Little said, via Duane Rankin of the The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). “As the preseason went on, I got more and more comfortable and I feel like I’m in a good spot right now.” Little holds career averages of 6.0 points and 3.2 rebounds after being selected with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
  • Kings rookie guard Colby Jones came off the bench in the team’s Thursday preseason finale and posted 19 points in a 116-113 victory over the Jazz. According to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, the Kings felt they were getting a first-round talent in Jones when they picked him No. 32 overall in the 2023 draft. Now, he has a shot at seeing real action soon at the NBA level “We have a lot of guys we can play,” head coach Mike Brown said. “The neat thing about that is the competition, the real competition. If you’re not getting it done, obviously, there’s somebody else who can come take your spot, and that’s not a threat at all. That’s just what my job is. My job is to put the best five out on the floor based on that situation whenever I can, and if Colby keeps doing what he’s doing, it’s going to be hard to keep him on that bench.
  • After spraining his ankle ahead of training camp, Warriors forward Draymond Green missed all of Golden State’s preseason action. However, ESPN’s Kendra Andrews (Twitter link) reports Green is ramping up his on-court work, participating in 3-on-3 action on Friday for the first time since the injury. Andrews adds that head coach Steve Kerr said Green did well, but there’s more work to be done before he takes the court, including participating in 5-on-5 settings. The Warriors open the regular season on October 24 against the Suns.

Kings Sign Colby Jones To Four-Year Deal

The Kings have become the first team to use the NBA’s cap exception for second-round picks, having signed No. 34 overall pick Colby Jones, per’s official transactions log.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), Sacramento agreed to give Jones a four-year contract worth $8.76MM. The first two years will be guaranteed, Charania adds.

The second-round pick exception is a new addition to the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. It allows teams to sign their second-rounders without requiring cap room or a cap exception like the mid-level. In past years, the Kings would have had to use a portion of their cap space (or the non-taxpayer mid-level, if they’d operated over the cap) in order to give Jones a four-year contract.

The second-round pick exception requires four-year deals to include a team option in the final year. It allows Jones to receive salaries worth more than the rookie minimum in the first two seasons of the deal, with minimum salaries in the last two.

The signing also won’t count against the Kings’ cap room until the end of July — this is to ensure a club can sign its second-rounders for Summer League play without having to worry about the impact on the team’s financial flexibility.

Jones is coming off a strong junior season at Xavier, where he averaged 15.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 4.4 APG with a .509/.378/.653 shooting line in 36 games (34.0 MPG) in 2022/23.

Jones has already been part of two trades in his brief NBA career. The Hornets technically drafted the 6’6″ wing, but his rights were flipped to the Celtics and then to Sacramento. The Kings sent a future second-round pick to Boston in order to move up four spots from No. 38 to land Jones.

Taking into account their reported deals with Alex Len, Trey Lyles, and Sasha Vezenkov, as well as PJ Dozier‘s non-guaranteed contract, the Kings now have 14 players on standard contracts.

Celtics Trade No. 34 Pick Colby Jones To Kings

JUNE 28: The trade has been finalized, the Kings announced (via Twitter).

JUNE 23: The future second-round pick the Celtics are acquiring from the Kings will be Dallas’ 2024 second-rounder, according to a press release.

JUNE 22: The Celtics continue to acquire future assets while moving down in the draft. Their latest deal sends Xavier guard Colby Jones, selected at No. 34, to the Kings in exchange for the 38th pick and a future second-rounder, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Viewed as a 3-and-D wing, Jones shot 37.8% from three-point range for the Musketeers during his junior season. He also averaged 15.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 36 games.

Boston acquired a first-round pick from the Grizzlies in the Kristaps Porzingis trade that was agreed upon late Wednesday night. The Celtics traded down to No. 31 in a deal with the Pistons, and then sent that pick to the Hornets in exchange for the 34th and 39th selections.

Boston used its picks to take Arkansas forward Jordan Walsh at No. 38 and Washington State forward Mouhamed Gueye at No. 39. Gueye was subsequently dealt to Atlanta.

Eastern Notes: Pacers, Quickley, Hawks, Bucks, Beal

No team holds more picks in the 2023 NBA draft than the Pacers, who have had another full week of pre-draft workouts at the Ascension St. Vincent Center in Indianapolis.

The Pacers hosted Marcus Carr (Texas), Kendric Davis (Memphis), Zvonimir Ivisic (Croatia), Drew Peterson (USC), Julian Phillips (Tennessee), and Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky) for a group workout on Monday, then brought in D’Moi Hodge (Missouri), Colby Jones (Xavier), Omari Moore (San Jose State), Kevin Obanor (Texas Tech), Olivier-Maxence Prosper (Marquette), and Malachi Smith (Gonzaga) on Tuesday.

The most notable workout of the team’s week so far is happening on Thursday, with the Pacers scheduled to host Gradey Dick. The Kansas guard could be a player Indiana considers with its lottery pick at No. 7.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • With Immanuel Quickley becoming eligible next month for a rookie scale extension, Fred Katz of The Athletic polled 15 front office members around the NBA to get a sense of what a “fair” extension for the Knicks guard would look like. Of those 15 participants, 11 projected an annual salary between $16-20MM, with five specifically suggesting $72MM over four years.
  • Discussing his newly completed coaching staff, Hawks head coach Quin Snyder told Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he wanted a strong player development group made up of “selfless” individuals who would help instill that philosophy in Atlanta’s players. “It’s like putting any team together that whether it’s, tactical experience, analytics experience, literally different cultures and genders and all the different things that go into making a unique, strong group,” Snyder said. “But ‘The Thin Red Line’ to me that runs through all of it was, just selfless people that are able to put the group in front of themselves and I really want our staff to model that because that’s what we’re asking of our team.”
  • Eric Nehm of The Athletic breaks down the rumor identifying the Bucks as a possible Bradley Beal suitor, examining how Milwaukee could build a package to acquire Beal and weighing whether or not the star guard would actually make a better long-term building block than Jrue Holiday or Khris Middleton. As Nehm notes, while Beal is younger than Holiday or Middleton, he’s not as solid a defender as either of those current Bucks.

Draft Notes: Walker, Pacers, Bates, Pistons

Houston’s Jarace Walker is a projected top-10 pick, currently ranked No. 7 on ESPN’s big board. As Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files writes, Walker’s workout on Wednesday with the Pacers, who control the No. 7 overall pick, was actually his first with an NBA team, but he has upcoming workouts with the Pistons (No. 5) and Jazz (No. 9).

A strong, long-armed forward who is viewed as one of the best defenders in the draft, Walker could fill an immediate need for Indiana at the four if he’s available on draft night, Agness notes. The Pacers are reportedly searching for a starting power forward and need help defensively.

I think my biggest asset is my defense, just my versatility there,” Walker said, stressing that he wants to show that he’s more than a good defender. “That’s what people focus on, but there’s so many other things on the floor that I can do.”

The 19-year-old cited Luguentz Dort and Jrue Holiday as a couple of burly defenders he looks up to, according to Agness.

Here are a few more notes on the 2023 NBA draft, which will take place June 22:

  • The Pacers have been extremely busy hosting prospects for workouts, and that will continue on Thursday, Agness tweets. Tyger Campbell (UCLA), Sidy Cissoko (G League Ignite), Markquis Nowell (Kansas State), Ben Sheppard (Belmont), Hunter Tyson (Clemson) and Jalen Wilson (Kansas) will be the six participants. Sheppard is currently the highest-rated of the group on ESPN’s list, coming in at No. 37. In addition to No. 7, Indiana also controls the Nos. 26, 29, 32 and 55 picks
  • Eastern Michigan wing Emoni Bates has had a busy schedule leading up to the draft, reportedly working out for nearly half the league already. A source tells Adam Zagoria of (Twitter link) that Bates will be visiting the Bucks on Friday. He’s currently No. 51 on ESPN’s board.
  • While much ink has (understandably) been spilled about what the Pistons might do at No. 5, they control the 31st pick in the draft as well. Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscriber link) examines six 3-and-D wings who might be available with the second-rounder, including Xavier’s Colby Jones (No. 28 on ESPN’s board) UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez (No. 30), and Pepperdine’s Maxwell Lewis (No. 32).

Draft Notes: Hawks, Hornets, Smith Jr., Heat, Delaire, Gardner

Kentucky guard Cason Wallace, who worked out for the Wizards on Monday, will not participate in his previously scheduled workout for the Hawks on Tuesday, Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Sincere Carry (Kent State), Armaan Franklin (Virginia), Seneca Knight (Illinois State), Xavier Castaneda (Akron), Toumani Camara (Dayton) and Vincent Valerio-Bodon (Sopron KC) will visit Atlanta on Tuesday. The Hawks hold the No. 15 pick in the first round.

We have more draft-related news:

  • Camara and Franklin were among the prospects who visited the Hornets on Monday, the team’s PR department tweets. Colby Jones (Xavier), Justyn Mutts (Virginia Tech), Julian Phillips (Tennessee) and Daivien Williamson (Wake Forest) also worked out for Charlotte. Jones and Phillips are considered potential first-round picks.
  • Arkansas guard Nick Smith Jr., a potential lottery pick, will visit the Heat in the near future, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Smith worked out for Washington on Monday.
  • San Diego Jaiden Delaire will remain in the draft, according to Zagoria. Delaire, who averaged 9.2 PPG and 5.3 RPG last season at San Diego, had his waiver request to play another college season denied by the NCAA. Delaire appeared in just 12 games last season due to broken toe and broken thumb but is “100% healthy now,” he told Zagoria (Twitter link).
  • Marist center Patrick Gardner has worked out for the Warriors, Nets and Magic, Zagoria reports in another tweet. He also has workouts scheduled with the Wizards, Bucks, Cavaliers, Pelicans and Celtics. Gardner averaged 19.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG and shot 38.3% from 3-point range last season.

Nets Notes: Bridges, C. Jones, Kalkbrenner, Holmes, Bates

There has been speculation that Nets forward Mikal Bridges will be a target for the Trail Blazers if and when they shop the No. 3 overall pick, but John Hollinger of The Athletic is skeptical that a deal centered around that pick would appeal to Brooklyn.

As Hollinger points out, the Nets don’t control their own first-rounders in any of the next four drafts, so they have little incentive to take a step back in the short term. Plus, Bridges is signed to one of the NBA’s most team-friendly contracts through the 2025/26 season.

Alex Schiffer of The Athletic (Twitter link) says he has heard the same thing as Hollinger at the draft combine in Chicago. According to Schiffer, any rumors linking Bridges to Portland are “all talk,” since Brooklyn isn’t interested.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Many prospects in this year’s draft class have cited Bridges as a player they want to emulate at the NBA level, according to Schiffer. Iowa’s Kris Murray, Villanova’s Cam Whitmore, Pepperdine’s Maxwell Lewis, and Frenchman Rayan Rupert are among the prospects who likened themselves to Bridges. “I want to have the same trajectory and same process he did,” Rupert said. “Mikal Bridges is a big inspiration for me.”
  • Xavier guard Colby Jones told Schiffer that he’s scheduled to work out for the Nets in the coming weeks. Jones is the No. 28 prospect on ESPN’s big board, while Brooklyn owns the Nos. 21 and 22 picks in next month’s draft.
  • Creighton’s Ryan Kalkbrenner and Dayton’s DaRon Holmes II are among the draft prospects who worked out for the Nets prior to the draft combine, Schiffer writes for The Athletic. Kalkbrenner, who has also auditioned for the Bulls, said that his session with Brooklyn went well, but Holmes wasn’t as positive about his workout in Brooklyn. “I didn’t do too well, I feel like, at the Nets,” Holmes said. “I feel like I could have stepped it up a bit, but it was good to learn. Great players there.”
  • Former five-star recruit Emoni Bates has been linked to the Nets and said he’ll work out for them at some point in the coming weeks, according to Schiffer. An Eastern Michigan forward, Bates added that he also has workouts lined up with the Thunder, Suns, Cavaliers, Blazers, and Pistons.
  • In case you missed it, Ben Simmons‘ agent said earlier this week that the former No. 1 overall pick is “progressing really well” in his injury rehab process. We have more details here.

NBA Reveals Players Expected At 2023 Draft Combine

The NBA has announced 78 players that are expected to attend this year’s draft combine, scheduled for May 15-21 at in Chicago, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets.

Additionally, a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp, which takes place May 13-14 in Chicago, will be invited to participate in the combine.

Players will have interviews with NBA teams and participate in five-on-five scrimmages, as well as shooting, strength and agility drills. Some top prospects opt out of the scrimmages.

Victor Wembanyama, the projected top pick, is not on the list. His French League season is still ongoing.

The list of invitees is as follows:

Gradey Dick, Colby Jones, Others Declare For NBA Draft

Kansas freshman guard Gradey Dick announced on ESPN’s NBA Today on Friday that he has decided to enter the 2023 NBA draft and go pro, forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Dick had a solid year in his first and only college season, averaging 14.1 PPG and 5.1 RPG with a shooting line of .442/.403/.854 in 36 games (32.7 MPG) for the Jayhawks. He projects as a potential lottery pick, according to Givony, who has Dick ranked at No. 11 on his latest big board. Givony describes the 6’8″ wing as a player with “a high floor and plenty of upside left to tap into.”

Meanwhile, Xavier guard Colby Jones announced on Instagram that he’ll declare for the draft following a junior year in which he put up 15.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 4.4 APG with solid shooting percentages of 50.9% from the floor and 37.8% on three-pointers. He’ll forgo his remaining eligibility and go pro too, he confirms to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).

Givony, who has Jones ranked 29th overall at ESPN, writes that his “passing ability and all-around feel for the game” are two of his most appealing traits as a prospect, adding that he has also shown defensive toughness.

Finally, Houston guard Marcus Sasser also intends to enter the draft and it sounds like he’ll forgo his final year of eligibility. The announcement he made on Instagram includes no indication that he’s leaving the door open to return to school.

Sasser averaged 17.0 PPG, 3.0 APG, and 2.8 RPG on .438/.399/.826 shooting across 48 games (31.1 MPG) during his final two years with the Cougars. He currently comes in as the No. 36 prospect on ESPN’s top-100 list.

Here are more of the prospects who recently declared for the 2023 draft:

Expected to remain in draft:

Testing the draft waters: