Jayvon Graves

Pacific Notes: Ayton, K. Jones, Lakers, Warriors

Deandre Ayton, fresh off of his first NBA Finals appearance with the Suns, is eligible for a five-year, $168MM max contract that would kick in at the start of the 2022/23 season, and Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic takes a look at what could be next for the big man.

Ayton’s career lows in PPG and APG were a result more of the context of adding Chris Paul and reorganizing the offense, rather than any regression on Ayton’s end, Rankin writes. In fact, Ayton’s growth as a team-first player willing to do whatever it takes for the success of the Suns adds even more appeal for the club as it decides if it will offer him a max deal.

If sacrificing is leading the wins and where we are today, I’ll sacrifice everything, you know what I’m saying,” Ayton said. “Everything (Paul’s) told me has led up to here, so why stop now?

We have more news from the Pacific Division:

NCAA Sets New Early Entrant Withdrawal Deadline

After indefinitely postponing its June 3 withdrawal deadline for early entrants, the NCAA announced today that it has established a new deadline. Early entrants will have until either August 3 or 10 days after the NBA draft combine (whichever comes first) to withdraw their names while maintaining their college eligibility.

“This provides the utmost flexibility to student-athletes testing the waters to make the most informed decision about their future during this uncertain time,” NCAA senior VP for basketball Dan Gavitt said in a statement. “And by deciding before classes start for the fall semester, it also encourages student-athletes who choose to return to school to be fully engaged in their academic pursuits and the tremendous experience and opportunity to play college basketball.”

[RELATED: 2020 NBA Draft Early Entrants List]

The NBA announced today that it has rescheduled its 2020 draft lottery for August 25. Typically, the combine takes place shortly after the lottery, but it’s not clear if or when it will happen this year. The coronavirus pandemic has made it virtually impossible for the league to hold a traditional combine, which would feature workouts, scrimmages, interviews, and medical tests.

Since it’s extremely unlikely that a combine will be held next month, it seems safe to assume that August 3 will end up being the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline. Most players are unlikely to wait that long to make their decisions, however, as college programs work toward setting their rosters for the 2020/21 season.

As Jonathan Givony of ESPN observes (via Twitter), the NCAA’s decision isn’t great news for players that want the opportunity to potentially participate in an August or September combine. Many players could end up keeping their names in the draft despite being unlikely to be selected, Givony notes.

While the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline for early entrants will be August 3 at the latest, I’d expect the NBA’s to land on October 5. Traditionally, it falls 10 days before the draft, and the 2020 draft has been rescheduled to October 15.

The NBA’s withdrawal deadline typically applies to international players who don’t have to worry about losing NCAA eligibility. However, again, I wouldn’t expect many of those international players to wait until the fall to make their decisions, since most European leagues remain on track to start their 2020/21 seasons at that time.

Buffalo guard Jayvon Graves and Croatian forward Darko Bajo are among the latest early entrants to pull out of this year’s draft, according to tweets from Jeff Goodman of Stadium and agent Misko Raznatovic, respectively.

Draft Notes: Bruner, Graves, Gaffney

If not for the coronavirus pandemic, the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament would have taken place over the last few days, with draft hopefuls getting a chance to show their skills – and potentially improve their stock – on a national stage.

Instead, college basketball – like virtually every other sport in North America – has been shut down indefinitely, leaving possible early entrants for the 2020 draft to make their decisions under unusual circumstances.

Here are a few updates on college players who may end up being part of the 2020 NBA draft class:

  • A report earlier this month indicated that Jordan Bruner is expected to declare for the draft and go pro. However, as Evan Daniels of 247Sports details, the former Yale forward has also entered the NCAA transfer portal and is drawing plenty of interest. Bruner explained to Daniels that he wants to keep his options open, given the uncertainty created by the coronavirus crisis. “I’d like to keep my options open and hear what NBA scouts and other people think I’m capable of and what they think about me,” he said. “I don’t want to get stuck in a place where I can’t play in college if I want to.”
  • Buffalo junior guard Jayvon Graves announced on Twitter that he intends to test the draft waters. Graves bumped his scoring average from 9.7 PPG as a sophomore to 17.1 PPG as a junior, chipping in 5.4 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.2 SPG in 32 games (34.4 MPG) for Buffalo.
  • Ohio State forward Alonzo Gaffney won’t be returning to the Buckeyes for his sophomore season, sources tell Brian Snow of 247Sports. According to Snow, Gaffney – who played very limited minutes as a freshman – will likely pursue professional opportunities rather than transferring to another college program.