Devin Carter

Northwest Notes: Jazz Draft Options, Sexton, Clarkson, Wolves, Nuggets

The Jazz are “casting a wide net” as they decide what to do with their three selections in this year’s draft, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. Sources tell Jones that Purdue center Zach Edey, French forward Tidjane Salaun, Marquette guard Tyler Kolek and Virginia guard Ryan Dunn are among the players Utah has hosted in the past week.

Jones is especially intrigued by Dunn, who he says could be the best perimeter defender in the draft. However, the 6’8″ guard doesn’t have a developed offensive game and he doesn’t fall into the team’s current draft range — No. 10 seems too high to take him, and he’s likely to be off the board when the Jazz pick again at No. 29 and 32.

Utah’s most pressing need is a small forward who can contribute on both ends of the court, according to Jones, who examines the potential fit of Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht, Colorado’s Cody Williams, G League Ignite’s Ron Holland and Salaun. He also looks at Providence’s Devin Carter if the Jazz opt for a guard.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Executives from rival teams believe the Jazz could explore trade opportunities this summer involving Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Sexton has two years remaining on his contract at $18.4MM and $19.2MM, while Clarkson will make $14MM next season and $14.3MM in 2025/26.
  • The Mavericks’ struggles against Boston in the NBA Finals are an indication that the Timberwolves still aren’t at the level of title contenders, according to Michael Rand of The Star-Tribune, who notes that Dallas handled Minnesota pretty convincingly in the conference finals, including a Game 5 rout to close out the series. Rand believes the Wolves should follow the Celtics’ path for improvement and be willing to gamble on a major trade or two.
  • Talk of a Nuggets‘ dynasty has faded with this year’s second-round exit, and Troy Renck of The Denver Post believes the focus should turn to winning the next title. He accuses the organization of taking a “macro view” by trying to win multiple championships rather than doing what is necessary to get the next one. Renck contends that approach led to personnel decisions that created a thin bench and left the team unable to close out Game 7 against Minnesota.

California Notes: Lyles, Lakers, Redick, Buss

Kings power forward Trey Lyles is set to be in training camp with Team Canada this July, and will compete for a spot on this year’s Paris Olympics squad, per Mark Jones of ESPN (Twitter link).

According to Jones, Lyles would have suited up in the FIBA World Cup last season, but wanted to preserve his body to avoid injury during a free agent summer. He’s not a lock to make the Canadian roster, but could provide valuable floor spacing from the frontcourt.

There’s more out of California:

  • The Lakers are considering several candidates for their No. 17 first round pick in this year’s draft, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Time. Providence guard Devin Carter, USC guard Isaiah Collier and Duke guard Jared McCain are all intriguing potential fits for a team that could use some backcourt depth, says Woike.
  • Longtime NBA sharpshooter J.J. Redick, now an ESPN commentator and podcaster, is seen as a top contender to be hired as the Lakers‘ next head coach. If he’s offered the Los Angeles gig, he’ll need to truly weigh the pros and cons of leaving his current media position, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN (YouTube video link). “I have no doubt that J.J. is going to have a strong performance because he’s been preparing for this for a long time,” Windhorst said. “I think the question that’s being asked here is how much should J.J. really want this job? And that’s one of the reasons why I think there’s people in his life, in fact, I know there’s people in his life, who have said ‘Are you sure this is the opportunity you want? That this is what you want to leave for? Because this is such a challenging job.'”
  • Lakers majority owner Jeanie Buss has been receiving blow-back recently after the team missed out on hiring Dan Hurley as the team’s head coach, as well as what many perceived as a muted response to the passing of L.A. legend Jerry West, writes Jim Alexander of The Orange County Register.

Atlantic Notes: Carter, Payne, Nets, O’Connell

In a wide open draft, the Sixers will have an intriguing choice to make with their No. 16 first round draft pick. Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports makes the case for Providence point guard Devin Carter, one of the elite defenders in the NCAA during 2023/24.

A junior last season, he averaged 19.7 points on a .473/.377/.749 shooting line, along with 8.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Philadelphia could use a major influx of athleticism next season, and Neubeck contends that, given Carter’s experience, he should be able to earn rotation minutes right away.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers reserve point guard Cameron Payne was arrested in Arizona after he made a false report and would not identify himself, reports Zach Buchanan of The Phoenix New Times. Both offenses are misdemeanors. Splitting his time between Milwaukee and Philadelphia last season (he was flipped for veteran Patrick Beverley midway through the year), Payne averaged a cumulative 7.4 points per game on .432/.390/.866 shooting, plus 2.5 assists, 1.5 rebounds and 0.5 steals.
  • The Nets face a fascinating offseason this summer, and will have some big decisions to make about two key starters, states longtime basketball insider Yossi Gozlan (YouTube video link). Center Nic Claxton is an unrestricted free agent, and is looking for a major raise coming off a two-year, $17.3MM deal with Brooklyn. In October, star forward Mikal Bridges will become eligible to ink a three-season, $113MM contract extension with the club. Gozlan notes that Brooklyn could make a move to trade for a star player now, or could explore a more thorough rebuild.
  • During a recent Knicks free agent minicamp, former Duke shooting guard Alex O’Connell led about 20 players in scoring, reports Ian Begley of SNY.tv (via Twitter). New York possesses the G League rights to O’Connell, who spent the 2023/24 season playing for Italian club Reyer Venezia.

Texas Notes: Wembanyama, Carter, Shead, Luka

With Spurs rookie center Victor Wembanyama already seemingly on the cusp of superstardom, Andrew Lopez of ESPN wonders if San Antonio will be able to make itself an appetizing landing spot for free agents.

The 7’4″ Rookie of the Year averaged 21.4 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 3.9 APG and 3.6 BPG across his 71 healthy contests with the club in 2023/24.

Should the Spurs cut veterans Devonte’ Graham and Charles Bassey, they could easily open up close to $20MM in cap space this summer to upgrade their roster around Wembanyama.

Lopez acknowledges that San Antonio did sign free agent All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge while he was still in his prime, and, later, an aging Pau Gasol after a pair of All-Star berths on the Bulls. Otherwise, San Antonio has generally grown internally, signed role player free agents, or improved via trades.

During remarks made at the end of the 2023/24 regular season, general manager Brian Wright indicated that he hoped to use the 20-year-old Wembanyama to lure top-tier free agents eventually.

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • The Spurs, possessors of the Nos. 4 and 8 lottery picks in this month’s forthcoming draft, still need a long-term point guard compatriot for Wembanyama. Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News argues in favor of San Antonio considering Providence guard Devin Carter. The 2023/24 Big East Player of the Year seems likely to be available with the eighth pick, McDonald speculates.
  • University of Houston coach Kelvin Sampson revealed that former Cougars point guard Jamal Shead is slated to work out for the Rockets this Friday, reports Joseph Duarte of The Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).
  • All-NBA Mavericks guard Luka Doncic conceded that he has been frustrated by the officiating in the ongoing NBA Finals, in which Dallas trails the Celtics 3-0. The All-NBA guard was whistled for his sixth foul and thus ejected from a critical Game 3 matchup Wednesday with 4:12 left in regulation. Per Tim MacMahon of ESPN, Doncic is looking to move past his frustrations with the recent refereeing. “Go back to playing fun,” Doncic said of his intended approach on Thursday. “We talk about how we come back from [21] points in the fourth quarter in the Finals. We were having fun. We were defending. We were running. Our pace was great. Just taking good shots.” During a conversation with ESPN’s Malika Andrews (Twitter video link), Doncic ultimately still felt responsible for the team’s eventual 106-99 loss in Game 3. “It was tough, probably wasn’t the smartest thing,” he said of fouling out.

Draft Notes: Fit Vs. Value, International Prospects, Top PGs, More

In their latest mock draft for ESPN.com (Insider link), Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo provide two paths — Givony makes each pick based on the team’s biggest need, while Woo chooses the player who would be the best value at that spot.

For example, at No. 1, Givony has the Hawks taking Donovan Clingan, arguing that one of the league’s worst defenses would benefit from adding the draft’s best rim protector, while Woo views Zaccharie Risacher as the choice for Atlanta, since both he and Givony have the French forward ranked as the best prospect in this year’s draft class.

There are several spots where the best fit and best value overlap, including at No. 2 (Alexandre Sarr to the Wizards), No. 4 (Reed Sheppard to the Spurs), No. 5 (Matas Buzelis to the Pistons), No. 6 (Stephon Castle to the Hornets), and No. 12 (Nikola Topic to the Thunder).

Here’s more on the 2024 NBA draft:

  • In another Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Givony and Woo highlight 20 draft prospects who excel in specific areas. For instance, while Givony and Woo consider Kentucky’s Sheppard to be the best spot-up shooter in the 2024 draft class, ESPN’s duo names UConn’s Cam Spencer as the best pull-up shooter and Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht as the best movement shooter. On the other side of the ball, Virginia’s Ryan Dunn is viewed as the best defensive play-maker, UConn’s Castle is recognized as the best on-ball defender, and Risacher is identified as the best off-ball defender.
  • While top prospects Risacher and Sarr and potential lottery picks Tidjane Salaun and Topic have gotten plenty of attention leading up to the draft, there are several other international prospects worth getting familiar with, according to Givony, who provides a primer on a handful of others who could hear their names called on June 26 or 27, including French wing Pacome Dadiet, Spanish point guard Juan Nunez, and Serbian forward Nikola Djurisic.
  • In an interview with Cyro Asseo de Choch of HoopsHype, Djurisic said he has been told his game is similar to that of seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson and likened himself to a “less athletic, taller Anthony Edwards.”
  • Referring to UConn’s Castle as one of the biggest risers in the pre-draft process, Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports ranks the reigning national champion No. 1 among point guards in this year’s draft class, followed by Topic at No. 2. Kentucky’s Rob Dillingham, Providence’s Devin Carter, and Pitt’s Carlton Carrington round out Peek’s top five point guard prospects.

Risacher, Sarr, Clingan, Nine Others Receive Green Room Invitations

Zaccharie Risacher and Alexandre Sarr, the projected top two picks in the draft, were among 12 players who received green room invites on Tuesday, Jonathan Givony of ESPN reports.

Donovan Clingan and Stephon Castle of national champion UConn were also extended green room invitations along with Reed Sheppard, Matas Buzelis, Dalton Knecht, Tidjane Salaun, Ron Holland, Cody Williams, Devin Carter and Ja’Kobe Walter.

All of those players are projected lottery picks, according to ESPN’s latest mock draft. The only omissions were Kentucky’s Rob Dillingham and Serbian point guard Nikola Topic.

Dillingham still hasn’t completed all the qualifications to be eligible for the draft. He didn’t undergo athletic testing and shooting drills at the draft combine in Chicago last month due to an ankle injury. He hasn’t been able to attend private workouts with NBA teams for the same reasons but he plans to fulfill those requirements at the Lakers’ practice facility on Friday.

Topic’s status as a lottery pick is in jeopardy due to a partially torn ACL. Topic has until June 16 to decide whether or not he wants to keep his name in the draft pool. Topic will be evaluated in the coming days by NBA team doctors to determine his recovery process.

Both Willingham and Topic could still wind up in the green room, as another 11-12 invites are expected to be sent out starting next week, Givony adds.

The fact that the draft is now a two-day event beginning on June 26 could lead to additional scrutiny over the final players invited to the green room. The league doesn’t want players to be forced to wait around an extra day to hear their names called.

Draft Rumors: Risacher, Buzelis, Salaun, Carter

Zaccharie Risacher could be the first selection in this year’s draft, but most American fans aren’t familiar with the French forward’s game. Risacher sought to clear up some of the mystery in a Zoom session with the media this week, writes Chase Hughes of Monumental Sports.

The 19-year-old plays for JL Bourg in the LNB Pro A league, where he impressed scouts with his soft shooting touch and 6’8″ frame. He’s a career 40.7% three-point shooter during his three-year career in France and connected at 56.1% from beyond the arc in this year’s playoffs, often with NBA scouts and executives in attendance.

“I think my best skill is probably my shooting ability. I’m really comfortable with it and I know it’s not perfect, I still got a lot of work to do. But that’s the part of my game I feel like is my best skill that I have,” Risacher told reporters. “And the part of my game that I need to work on is probably my dribbling ability, the way to handle contact with dribbling. But I know I can do it. I will say that’s the next step.”

Hughes notes that Risacher is projected to go to Atlanta with the No. 1 pick in the latest mock drafts from Yahoo Sports, ESPN and The Ringer. He’s listed as the second selection by The Athletic and Bleacher Report.

Risacher mentioned Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Jayson Tatum and Ray Allen as players he studied while developing his game. He’s also considered to be a high-level defender, so whoever drafts him won’t be getting a one-dimensional player.

“I take pleasure in [impacting] both sides of the court. [I like] defending small guards, big guards, big men,” Risacher said. “I think that’s something that I can like translate in the NBA.”

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • G League Ignite forward Matas Buzelis is under consideration by teams in the top five, sources tell Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Wasserman has Buzelis going to San Antonio at No. 4 in his latest mock draft, noting that the team should be able to fill its need for a point guard with the eighth pick. He hears the Spurs are interested in Providence guard Devin Carter, who may get the edge over Nikola Topic because of Topic’s ACL injury.
  • Wasserman also hears that French forward Tidjane Salaun, who has been rising up draft boards, will hold a pre-draft workout with the Thunder, who have the No. 12 pick. That’s in addition to sessions with teams in the top 10 such as the Spurs, Pistons and Trail Blazers.
  • Following a report that Carter has received a promise from a team in the lottery, Rylan Stiles speculates in a Sports Illustrated article about which club might have given that promise, writing that the Grizzlies and Thunder both have incentives to add Carter.

Heat Notes: Draft, Two-Way Players, Bam, Jones, Cap, More

The Heat began hosting prospects for pre-draft workouts this week, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, who reports that Providence guard Devin Carter, USC guard Isaiah Collier, Indiana center Kel’el Ware, Arizona forward Keshad Johnson and UConn guard Tristen Newton are among the players who are taking part. The Heat control one first-round pick (No. 15 overall) and one second-rounder (No. 43).

One of the draft’s risers, Carter was a standout performer during athletic testing at the combine. The 22-year-old is rumored to have a lottery promise, with the Heat reportedly viewed as his floor at No. 15. The son of former Heat guard and assistant coach Anthony Carter, Devin is ranked No. 13 on ESPN’s big board.

Collier (No. 22) and Ware (No. 24) are other possible options with Miami’s first-round pick, Chiang notes, while Johnson (No. 50) and Newton (No. 68) are viewed as potential second-rounders.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • In a separate article for The Miami Herald, Chiang examines what’s next for the Heat’s trio of players — Jamal Cain, Cole Swider and Alondes Williams — on two-way contracts. All three players will be free agents this summer. As Chiang writes, Cain was dominant at the G League level in 2023/24 and he’s hoping to be promoted to a standard deal, whether it’s with Miami or elsewhere. Swider and Williams, meanwhile, are expected to play for Miami’s Summer League team and will continue to work out with the team in the offseason, Chiang adds.
  • Appearing on the Point Game podcast with John Wall and C.J. Toledano, big man Bam Adebayo discussed how he views the Heat’s culture. “To me, it’s just a standard,” Adebayo said, according to Chiang. “People try to make up these myths and [expletive] like that. The biggest thing I could say about it is it’s a standard. Every year, [Heat coach Erik Spoelstra] comes in and is like, ‘This is what we’re trying to get. We’re trying to get the trophy.’ Sixteen wins, whatever that may be, but it’s a standard because every day our coach walks in and challenges us. Every day, he walks in and is like, ‘You’re going to be prepared for what’s about to happen in this season.’ That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to execute. But it’s the standard of always having to be that way, having to come in there and really lock in every day to the point where like you get in the playoffs, it’s second nature.” Adebayo also talked about his potential role with Team USA at the upcoming Olympics in Paris, among other topics.
  • Former Heat forward Derrick Jones has “found new life” with the Mavericks, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “Ever since I stepped foot in Dallas, they tell me to be me, play my game, go out there and be the best defender I can be,” Jones said. “Whenever I get shots, opportunities, I take the shots, I drive the ball, I finish the ball, make another play for a teammate.” Jones, who signed a one-year, minimum salary deal with Dallas as a free agent last summer, will be an unrestricted free agent again this offseason.
  • In a pair of subscriber-only mailbag articles for The Sun Sentinel, Winderman answers questions about the Heat’s postseason potential going forward as well as the team’s future cap outlook. According to Winderman, Miami has no viable way to move off their top players to free up cap space without becoming a lottery team. And since the Heat have already traded away two future first-round picks, rebuilding probably isn’t a realistic option, as Miami is constantly striving to be as competitive as possible.

Draft Rumors: Buzelis, Clingan, Dillingham, Topic, More

Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo of ESPN recently updated their top-100 list, with several new tidbits of information on prospects ranked in the top 25 (subscription required).

Sources tell Givony that G League Ignite forward Matas Buzelis “will work out for almost every team in the top five.” As Givony writes, teams are intrigued by Buzelis’ size, skills, versatility and long-term upside.

They don’t control a top-five pick, but sources tell Givony that Chicago — Buzelis’ hometown team — watched the 19-year-old in a private workout in Los Angeles “early in the pre-draft process.” The Bulls have explored the viability of moving up from No. 11 overall if the price is right, according to Givony, who adds that head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas is very familiar with Buzelis and his game (they’re also both Lithuanian).

Here are some more rumors and updates from Givony and Woo:

  • ESPN previously reported that rival teams think the Bulls, Grizzlies and Trail Blazers could be interested in moving up to select UConn center Donovan Clingan, whom Givony describes as a “top-three prospect who might experience a minor drop on draft night because teams that are in the Nos. 3-6 range already have starting centers in place.” The Thunder and Jazz are also viewed as teams who could consider trading up for the 20-year-old. Clingan is still in the Hawks‘ conversation at No. 1, while Atlanta has also explored the possibility of trading down, Givony reports. The Blazers, who recently hosted Clingan for a private workout, are viewed as the big man’s floor at No. 7 overall.
  • Kentucky guard Rob Dillingham, the No. 7 prospect on ESPN’s board, is targeting a mid-June return following an ankle injury, sources tell Givony. That means the 19-year-old will likely only have time “for a handful of workouts” before the first round begins on June 26. Dillingham is on the radar of teams drafting in the top 10 who need a point guard, according to Givony, who suggests trades might need to transpire for him to go early.
  • Nikola Topic, long considered a probable lottery pick, was recently diagnosed with a partially torn ACL in his left knee, as ESPN reported on Wednesday. However, he has only dropped one spot — No. 9 to No. 10 — on ESPN’s latest update, with Givony pointing to Topic’s age (he turns 19 in August) and upside (he was once in consideration for No. 1) as reasons why the Serbian guard is unlikely to have a drastic fall. The Spurs (No. 8), Jazz (No. 10), Thunder (No. 12) and Trail Blazers (No. 14) are viewed as potential landing spots for Topic, depending on how his medicals are evaluated.
  • According to Woo and Givony, Tenneesee wing Dalton Knecht, who comes in at No. 8, has drawn “strong interest” from every team selecting in the 6-10 range (Hornets, Trail Blazers, Spurs, Grizzlies, Jazz). French forward Tidjane Salaun, the No. 9 prospect on ESPN’s board, is expected to draw suitors in the 4-14 range.
  • G League Ignite wing Ron Holland, who ranks No. 11, has either worked out for or will work out for the Heat (No. 15) and Lakers (No. 17), per ESPN. Providence guard Devin Carter recently worked out for the Lakers as well, and his range is expected to be anywhere from No. 8 to No. 15. According to Woo, “playoff-caliber teams” will likely have interest in Carter, 22, if they decide to trade up.
  • Back-to-back college Player of the Year Zach Edey, who ranks No. 16, has an upcoming workout with the Lakers, but it’s possible he could land quite a bit higher than No. 17. According to Givony, the Grizzlies, Jazz, Bulls, Thunder, Trail Blazers and Heat are viewed as viable landing spots for the Canadian big man, who recently worked out for his hometown Raptors as well. Toronto (picking at No. 19) is viewed as Edey’s floor.
  • The Grizzlies and Kings are among the lottery teams with interest in Colorado’s Tristan Da Silva, per Woo. An older prospect, the German combo forward is viewed as a player who can contribute right away but has a lower ceiling than younger players in the class, Woo adds.
  • Givony and Woo have more information on the possible ranges of several other potential first-round picks. The whole article is worth checking out for those who subscribe to ESPN+.

Draft Rumors: Grizzlies, Rockets, Bridges, Hawks, Carter, Furphy, Nunez

The Grizzlies are exploring the possibility of trading up in the 2024 NBA draft and have talked to the Rockets about the No. 3 pick, league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. In O’Connor’s view, if Memphis or another team makes a trade with Houston for that third overall pick, UConn center Donovan Clingan is the likeliest target.

The Rockets, according to O’Connor, are holding out hope that the Nets would be open to moving Mikal Bridges for a package that includes that No. 3 pick, but Brooklyn’s preference is to retain Bridges and add pieces around him.

If Houston ultimately stays put at No. 3, O’Connor believes that either Clingan or Reed Sheppard is the best bet to come off the board in that spot.

Here are a few more draft-related notes and rumors:

  • While none of the top prospects in this year’s class have visited the Hawks yet, there’s an expectation that will change as the draft nears, writes O’Connor. Zaccharie Risacher told reporters today that he’ll travel to the U.S. soon to visit NBA teams, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic (Twitter link), who speculates that Atlanta could be the first stop for the French forward.
  • O’Connor’s sources say that Providence guard Devin Carter, the No. 13 player on ESPN’s big board, has received a promise somewhere in the lottery. However, O’Connor isn’t sure which team may have made that promise — he has Carter going to Chicago at No. 11 in his latest mock draft.
  • O’Connor refers to Kansas’ Johnny Furphy as one of the “biggest risers of the pre-draft process.” Furphy is up to No. 18 on ESPN’s big board, though O’Connor has him at No. 24 in his mock draft.
  • Spanish point guard Juan Nunez, who declared for the draft as an early entrant, remains undecided on whether or not he’ll withdraw before the NBA’s June 16 deadline, but says he’s leaning toward staying in, tweets Jonathan Givony of ESPN. The No. 37 prospect on ESPN’s board, Nunez added that he has worked out for the Timberwolves and Bucks so far.