Jared McCain

Sixers Notes: Embiid, George, McCain, Depth

A few weeks after working together on ESPN’s coverage of the NBA Finals, Joel Embiid and Paul George are Sixers teammates, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Embiid dropped a not-so-subtle hint during that broadcast, saying that Philadelphia needed to upgrade its roster and glancing at George, who was involved in extension negotiations with the Clippers at the time that ultimately collapsed and resulted in his free agency.

Speaking to reporters Saturday after Team USA’s first practice to prepare for the Summer Olympics, Embiid talked about what a difference it will make to have another All-Star joining him and Tyrese Maxey in Philadelphia.

“My focus is on helping [my teammates] as much as possible,” Embiid said. “Making the game easy for them, so I don’t have to do a lot, like in the past years. It was exciting [getting George]. Obviously, that’s a great job that [the front office] did. But we’ve still got to go on the court and try to win.”

Embiid has been one of the league’s most dominant players over the last two years, winning MVP honors in 2023 and possibly heading for a repeat before being sidelined with a torn meniscus in January. However, he has also frequently broken down in the playoffs and should benefit from not having to carry the team as much during the regular season.

The addition of George, along with Caleb Martin, Eric Gordon and Andre Drummond, has the Sixers looking like legitimate title contenders, but Embiid cautioned that everything might not click right away.

“Obviously, everybody always has the mindset [of] winning a championship, and that’s the goal,” he said. “But you’ve also got to understand it’s going to take a while for everybody to be on the same page. Hopefully it doesn’t take us a while and we just [have it] from the beginning, but that’s kind of rare.”

There’s more on the Sixers:

  • First-round pick Jared McCain plans to turn to Maxey as a mentor as he adjusts to the NBA game, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Pompey notes that both players fell out of the lottery even though they were coming off productive seasons at traditional college powers. “Whether it’s the work ethic, how is transition was from college to the NBA, I’m going to try to learn everything I can from (Maxey),” McCain said. “He’s an All-Star now. Everything I can, I’m going to try and figure it out and learn from him.”
  • While the Sixers have been very active in adding players in free agency, they also lost several veterans and currently only have nine players on standard contracts, including Ricky Council‘s non-guaranteed salary for 2024/25. David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer takes a look at how the team might fill out the rest of its roster.
  • In case you missed it, the Sixers have officially signed former Heat wing Caleb Martin to a four-year contract. They also waived big man Paul Reed, who was on a non-guaranteed deal, to create cap room for Martin’s addition.

Rory Maher contributed to this post.

Sixers Sign Jared McCain To Rookie Scale Contract

The Sixers have officially signed first-round pick Jared McCain to his first NBA contract, the team announced today in a press release.

The 16th overall pick last Wednesday, McCain declared for the draft as an early entrant following his freshman year at Duke. In 36 games (all starts), he averaged 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.1 steals in 31.6 minutes per contest, with a shooting line of .462/.414/.885.

Assuming McCain signed for the maximum allowable 120% of the rookie scale amount for the No. 16 pick, he’ll earn about $4.02MM as a rookie and $19.45MM across a total of four seasons, assuming his third- and fourth-year options are eventually exercised.

Signing McCain before completing their other roster moves doesn’t affect Philadelphia’s cap room, since the team already had to account for a cap hold for the 6’3″ guard equivalent to 120% of his rookie scale amount.

Atlantic Notes: McCain, Thomas, Hauser, Scheierman

Tyrese Maxey is one of the few definite members of the Sixers‘ roster next season, but that didn’t deter the team from drafting another small guard Wednesday night. Philadelphia used the No. 16 pick on Duke’s Jared McCain, a 6’2″ scoring specialist whose skills seems to overlap with Maxey’s.

President of basketball operations Daryl Morey admitted that having an undersized backcourt isn’t ideal, but he added that McCain has learned how to be effective despite his stature (video link from Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer).

“He’s got a strong frame, very strong, good rebounder,” Morey said. “We think he’ll be a solid defender in the league over time. He was being targeted at Duke, but as the season wore on he was actually one of their better defenders. He’s got the attitude that coach (Nick) Nurse likes to bring, which is just get a little bit better every day. He’s got 95th percentile approach to the game, good teammate, work ethic. We’ve had some good luck with taking kids with a real base of potential and a strong work ethic.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Cam Thomas, who is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, was the Nets‘ leading scorer this season and his opportunities should increase now that Mikal Bridges is being traded to New York, observes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Lewis expects Thomas’ usage rate to soar, possibly among the league leaders, but until Brooklyn starts winning he’ll never be able to escape the reputation of putting up good stats on a bad team. “I’ve always gone through that stuff,” Thomas said. “Whenever I … have a big season or leap, it goes a little under the radar or unnoticed. If other players do it, it’s all talked about a lot. Obviously, I’m kind of used to it in a way. I don’t really care. I go out there and play for my guys and the organization to be the best player I can be. … I want to go out there and be the best version of myself.”
  • With Sam Hauser entering the final season of his minimum contract, the Celtics may have drafted his eventual replacement when they took Creighton’s Baylor Scheierman at No. 30, notes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Scheierman is a similar type of player, and Weiss points out that he ran some of the same sets in college that Boston uses to create shots for Hauser. The Celtics will be well into tax territory for multiple seasons after expected extensions for Jayson Tatum and Derrick White, so they’ll have to decide whether it’s worth the extra tax bill to re-sign Hauser. Team president Brad Stevens appears willing to make that commitment, telling reporters, “We want him to be here for a long time.” (Twitter link from Brian Robb of MassLive)
  • With most of the roster already under contract for next season, Stevens doesn’t expect any major changes to the team this offseason, per Kyle Hightower of The Associated Press.
  • A judge granted the Raptors‘ motion to compel arbitration in their legal dispute with the Knicks, tweets Baxter Holmes of ESPN. Commissioner Adam Silver will make the final decision on whether the case will be arbitrated. All parties must update the court on the status of arbitration by December 13.

Draft Rumors: Knicks, Sixers, Dillingham, Heat, Jazz, Lakers, More

After surrendering several future first-round picks in their trade agreement for Mikal Bridges, the Knicks are now considered more likely to keep their three picks – No. 24, No. 25, and No. 38 – in this year’s draft, which begins on Wednesday night, Jonathan Givony writes in ESPN’s latest mock draft (Insider link).

The updated mock draft from Givony and ESPN’s Jeremy Woo includes several more notable tidbits, including the fact that the Sixers have conducted perhaps the fewest pre-draft workouts of any team with a first-round pick, resulting in speculation that the No. 16 selection will be traded.

Givony also provides an update on Kentucky’s Rob Dillingham, who wasn’t able to work out for teams for most of the pre-draft process due to an ankle injury. According to Givony, teams picking both earlier and later in the first round are trying to figure out where they might need to get to in order to land Dillingham, who has been considered a candidate to fall further than initially anticipated.

The Heat at No. 15 would be one option for Dillingham, as rival teams expect them to select a guard at that spot. Jared McCain, Isaiah Collier, and Carlton Carrington have also been mentioned as candidates for Miami at No. 15, Givony writes.

Here’s more on the 2024 NBA draft, which gets underway in less than 11 hours:

  • According to Givony, the Jazz (No. 10) have looked into some trade-up scenarios involving the Pistons‘ No. 5 overall pick. Their likely target would be UConn’s Stephon Castle, who is considered a possibility for the Hornets at No. 6 but may also come off the board at No. 4 to the Spurs, Givony explains.
  • Some rival executives think the Lakers will attempt to move up from No. 17 in the draft in order to target a specific player, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times, who says Providence’s Devin Carter and Baylor’s Ja’Kobe Walter are two prospects the team likes.
  • Within his final look at the Spurs‘ draft options at No. 4 and 8, LJ Ellis of SpursTalk says a rumor that San Antonio has made a promise to French forward Tidjane Salaun has been “spreading like wildfire in the draft world,” though he hasn’t been able to confirm it himself. Ellis lists Salaun at No. 5 on his big board of Spurs draft prospects.
  • Salaun is also a potential target to watch for the Trail Blazers at No. 7, according to Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report (Substack link), who identifies Donovan Clingan, Cody Williams, Dalton Knecht, and Salaun as the prospects he believes Portland is most interested in. At No. 14, Highkin views Kyshawn George, Tristan Da Silva, Kel’el Ware, and Zach Edey as the Blazers’ most likely targets.

Kings Rumors: No. 13 Pick, Caruso, Fox, Siakam, Kuzma, LaVine

The Kings‘ No. 13 overall pick is “very available” in trade talks, according to Anthony Slater and Sam Amick of The Athletic, who report that Sacramento included that lottery selection in an offer for Alex Caruso before the Bulls decided to send the veteran guard to Oklahoma City instead.

As Slater and Amick detail, the Kings have brought in several late-lottery prospects for pre-draft workouts, including Purdue center Zach Edey. Former Duke standout Jared McCain also recently visited Sacramento for a workout, reports Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. However, there’s “more of an appetite” within the organization to add a veteran who could help the team win right away instead of a rookie, according to The Athletic’s report.

The ideal outcome for Sacramento, Slater and Amick write, would be acquiring a “mid-prime” player who can grow with the core of De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, Keegan Murray, and Malik Monk. The Kings believe they have a three-to-six year window to contend with those players and would be willing to attach extra draft assets to this year’s No. 13 pick for the right trade target.

Here’s more on the Kings from The Athletic:

  • Fox will be extension-eligible starting in July, but he has decided he won’t sign a new contract this offseason, sources tell Slater and Amick. The star guard has two guaranteed years left on his current deal, so there’s no urgency to get anything done yet. Fox wants to see how the roster takes shape and could also still qualify for a super-max extension if he makes an All-NBA team in 2024/25.
  • The Kings came close to acquiring Pascal Siakam from Toronto before he was sent to Indiana, having backed off in large part because they weren’t confident about their chances of re-signing him. League sources tell The Athletic that there’s some level of regret within the organization about not pulling the trigger and trying to convince the star forward to sign long-term.
  • Ever since nearly trading for Kyle Kuzma in 2021, Kings general manager Monte McNair has maintained some level of interest in the Wizards forward, who is expected to be on Sacramento’s radar again this summer. League sources also confirm to Slater and Amick that Bulls guard Zach LaVine is a possible target for the Kings, though they’d likely have to be incentivized to take on his maximum-salary contract, which still has three years remaining.
  • After coming off the bench for the past two seasons, Monk has expressed a desire to start, but he agreed to re-sign with the Kings without having received any assurances about his role going forward, per Slater and Amick.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics FAs, White, Hauser, Raptors, Missi, Porter

The Celtics have all of their rotation players signed through next season and they could have even more continuity, according to The Athletic’s John Hollinger. Reserve centers Luke Kornet, Xavier Tillman Sr. and Neemias Queta are headed to free agency but the Celtics are open to bringing any or all of them back if the price is reasonable.

The Celtics are also willing to do more extensions beyond a potential super-max deal for Jayson Tatum. They’re interested in locking up Derrick White and Sam Hauser and both are extension-eligible this offseason. White is eligible for a four-year, $127MM extension — including incentives — and the front office will likely need to go that high to get White’s signature.

The team holds a $2MM option on Hauser’s contract for next season. The Celtics could offer a creative deal with the second tax apron in mind. In that scenario, they’d decline the option, then re-sign him for a lower annual salary and more years than an extension that started in 2025/26.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors hold the No. 19 and 31 picks in this year’s draft. The Athletic’s Eric Koreen takes a look at some of the guard prospects they might consider at those spots, including USC’s Isaiah Collier, Duke’s Jared McCain and Houston’s Jamal Shead.
  • Baylor center Yves Missi participated in a pre-draft workout for the Sixers on Tuesday at their practice facility, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. The Sixers have picks 16 and 41 in the draft. Missi is ranked No. 23 on ESPN’s Best Available list.
  • Canadian authorities have opened a criminal investigation into the Jontay Porter betting scandal, ESPN’s David Purdum reports. They will try to determine if a criminal investigation is warranted after evaluating information related to “online betting irregularities from the Jan. 26 and March 20 Raptors games.” Porter was a two-way player for Toronto before he received a lifetime ban from the league.

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.

Several More Players Invited To Green Room For 2024 Draft

Eight additional players have received green room invites for this month’s 2024 draft.

Sources have informed Jonathan Givony of ESPN (via these various and sundry Twitter links here) that Kentucky point guard Rob Dillingham, EuroLeague point guard Nikola Topic, Duke guard Jared McCain and power forward Kyle Filipowski, Miami swingman Kyshawn George, USC point guard Isaiah Collier, Kansas wing Johnny Furphy, and Baylor center Yves Missi have all been invited to attend the draft in person.

Givony notes that Dillingham, a 6’3″ All-SEC Second Teamer in 2023/24 as a freshman, earned the invitation after he wrapped up his NBA Combine prerequisites on Friday morning, at the Lakers’ El Segundo practice facility.

Among the latest invitees, Dillingham is the highest-ranked player on ESPN’s big board, where he comes in at No. 7 overall. Missi is the lowest-ranked prospect of the eight, as he’s ranked at No. 23.

All-American Purdue center Zach Edey also received an invite, Givony tweets, though he is opting to watch the draft at Purdue instead, with his family, coaches, and Boilermakers teammates in attendance.

This group is joining the 12 other likely first round draft picks whose green room invitations were previously reported.

Northwest Notes: Williams, Blazers, Wolves, Hayward

As Bulls forward Patrick Williams heads into restricted free agency, look for the Thunder to make a run at him, The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry reports. A league source tells Mayberry that Oklahoma City has “great interest” in the 22-year-old.

Williams, who has failed to live up to his draft billing as the No. 4 pick in 2020, would give the Thunder more size at power forward. Oklahoma City’s stash of draft picks could entice Chicago to negotiate a sign-and-trade with the Thunder. Williams was limited to 43 games this season due to a foot injury.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Trail Blazers hosted six draft prospects on Tuesday — Daniss Jenkins (St. John’s), Dillon Jones (Weber State), Spencer Jones (Stanford), Jared McCain (Duke), Noah Penda (JA Vichy-Clermont) and Armel Traore (Ada Blois), Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report tweets. Out of that group, McCain is the most highly regarded by draft pundits. The point guard is currently rated No. 15 overall on ESPN’s Best Available list. Portland controls the seventh and 14th overall picks, along with No. 34 and No. 40.
  • The Timberwolves were also busy evaluating draft prospects on Tuesday, according to the team’s PR department (Twitter link). Sy Chatman (Buffalo), Enrique Freeman (Akron), Pelle Larsson (Arizona), KJ Simpson (Colorado), Justin Webster (UNLV) and Moses Wood (Washington) visited Minnesota’s practice facility. Larsson (No. 44), a shooting guard, is the highest-ranked prospect among that group on ESPN’s list.
  • In his latest player report card, The Oklahoman’s Joe Mussatto evaluates the forgettable half-season that Gordon Hayward spent with the Thunder. Hayward is headed to unrestricted free agency and Mussatto opines that the forward might be looking at veteran’s minimum offers the remainder of his career.

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.