Ilimane Diop

Southeast Notes: J. Johnson, Heat, Hawks, Hornets

When James Johnson was asked about whether his affection for the Heat could translate into a team-friendly contract in free agency this offseason, the forward took a measured stance Sunday, reports Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Johnson reiterated his love the organization, while maintaining that a business decision must be made:

I love this place so much and the opportunity they gave me. I couldn’t thank them enough. Down the line, it’s hard in this phase of my career to try to find somewhere that you call home or you want it to be home and things like that. So you know the love I have for this team is up there. But it’s just something I got to let the agent and Pat [Riley] discuss and try to figure out, and then just give my last say so at the end.”

Johnson enjoyed a career season in 2016/17, averaging 12.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 3.6 APG.

Here’s what else you should know from the Southeast division:

Draft Notes: White, Taylor, Diop, Sipahi

Nebraska junior small forward Andrew White intends to test the waters and declare for the 2016 NBA Draft, reports Jeff Goodman of (via Twitter). The 22-year-old is the No. 25 ranked junior according to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and lands at a less optimistic No. 262 overall according to ESPN’s Chad Ford. In 34 appearances for the Cornhuskers this season, White averaged 16.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals to accompany a shooting line of .481/.412/.775.

Here’s the latest news regarding this year’s draft:

  • University of Texas point guard Isaiah Taylor intends to hire an agent, which would eliminate the opportunity for him to withdraw from the draft and return to school for his senior season, relays Jon Rothstein of (via Twitter).
  • Turkish point guard Kenan Sipahi intends to enter this year’s NBA draft, agent Misko Raznatovic tweets. The 20-year-old is the No. 18 overall ranked international player in his class, according to Givony.
  • African center Ilimane Diop and Latvian forward Rolands Smits intend to enter this year’s NBA draft, relays (via Twitter). Diop, a native of Senegal, is the No. 13 international prospect born in 1995, according to Givony, who projected him as the No. 50 overall player in the 2017 draft. Smits is the No. 20 international prospect in his class, according to the DraftExpress scribe.
  • Florida sophomore small forward Devin Robinson underwent surgery to repair a left foot stress fracture and is expected to be out of action for four to six months, Jeff Goodman of tweets. The ESPN scribe speculates that this will result in Robinson withdrawing from this year’s NBA draft, though no announcement to that end has been made by the player or the university.
  • Dayton junior guard Charles Cooke intends to enter this year’s NBA Draft, though he’ll hold off on hiring an agent, which will allow him to return to school if he withdraws prior to the May 25th deadline, Goodman relays (on Twitter). The 21-year-old is a long shot to be selected and doesn’t appear among the top 100 prospects on Givony’s or Ford’s rankings.

Draft Rumors: Saric, Diop, Hall

Dario Saric officially declared for the draft today, but the verdict is still out on whether or not he’ll remain in the player pool past the June 16th deadline to withdraw. Let’s round up the latest on the 2014 draft:

  • Jonathan Givony of Draft Express released his latest mock draft last night, and he figures Andrew Wiggins will be taken with the first overall selection, followed by Joel Embiid and Jabari Pakrer, respectively.
  • Ilimane Diop, projected to be selected 17th by DraftExpress in the 2015 draft, went through the feedback process for this summer’s draft before deciding against declaring, revealed a tweet from Shams Charania of RealGM. Charania adds that the prospect from Senegal is undecided on whether he will declare next year.
  • Mercer’s Langston Hall has signed with agent Roger Montgomery of Montgomery Sports heading into the draft, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. The senior guard isn’t projected to be selected in either round.

Cray Allred contributed to this post.