Kel’el Ware

Heat Notes: Love, Ware, Highsmith, Offseason

Kevin Love declined his $4MM player option for next season, but staying in Miami was always his first choice, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. The veteran big man not only remained with the Heat, he was able to get the deal he wanted — $3.85MM for the upcoming season and $4.15MM for 2025/26 — signing shortly after free agency began on June 30.

“In every free agency, there’s always a chance to look around the league and see opportunity,” Love said. “But in my mind, in terms of how the team operates, who [coach Erik Spoelstra] is, who [team president Pat Riley] is, who [general manager Andy Elisburg] is, it really in the last year and a half has felt like home. It felt like we were always optimistic that we would be able to get this done, get an extra year and just be able to provide as much as I possibly can for the team. I’m very, very happy to be back.”

Love has become a fixture in Miami since joining the organization late in the 2022/23 season. He was inserted into the starting lineup and sparked the team’s surprising run to the NBA Finals, then moved into a reserve role last season, coming off the bench for 50 of the 55 games he played. Love, who turns 36 in September, believes he can remain productive and envisions spending more time at power forward alongside Bam Adebayo.

“Being able to play high-low or being able to space the floor while a traditional five operates in the paint is something that I can add high value to,” Love said. “So I think it’s something that’s there. I’m sure it’s something that we’ll toy with and see in training camp. But I think it could be something that could happen this year.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • First-round pick Kel’el Ware put on a dominant performance Sunday in his second Summer League game with 26 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and a block, Chiang adds in a separate story. The 20-year-old center said he had to “get the jitters out” after his first contest, and he focused more on controlling the lane area than shooting three-pointers. “Right now, my shot is feeling a little short,” Ware said. “So I wanted to get to the basket more and just be more of a target in my presence, be more in the paint today. I felt like I did that a little bit.”
  • Several teams remain interested in Heat free agent Haywood Highsmith, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Although he doesn’t identify any of them, Scotto says that Highsmith is getting “recruitment pitches from Hall of Fame players and championship coaches.” Miami, which is $6.8MM away from the second apron, remains in talks with the 27-year-old forward, Scotto adds.
  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald examines some of the criticism being leveled at Heat management in the midst of a disappointing offseason to determine what’s legitimate and what isn’t.

Southeast Notes: KCP, Fultz, Okeke, Ware, Highsmith, McGowens, Wizards

The Magic‘s promising future played an important role in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s decision to join the team in free agency, tweets Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. Caldwell-Pope won titles with the Nuggets in 2023 and the Lakers in 2020, and he likes his chances to pick up a third ring in Orlando.

“I’m always chasing the championship,” Caldwell-Pope said. “… Seeing their progress, they just made it to the playoffs, taking Cleveland to a Game 7. That was enough for me. They got a little bit of a taste of that pressure and what it takes to make it past the first round. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”

Caldwell-Pope will become a veteran leader on a team that has amassed an impressive collection of young talent over the last few drafts. He’s looking forward to playing alongside Paolo Banchero, who became an All-Star in his second NBA season.

“His knowledge of the game,” Caldwell-Pope responded when asked what stands out about Banchero. “Him being patient in certain situations, making plays for his teammates to get his teammates involved. Being so much of a little bit of a leader that I’ve seen from him.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic renounced their free agent rights to Markelle Fultz and Chuma Okeke to clear up cap room for other moves, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Both players are still eligible to sign new contracts with Orlando.
  • The Heat want rookie center Kel’el Ware to gain weight before the start of the season, per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). The first-round pick weighed in at 230 pounds when he arrived at Summer League camp, and he said the team would prefer him to be between 240 and 245.
  • Free agent forward Haywood Highsmith still has interest in returning to the Heat, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. The Sixers were considered a potential landing spot for Highsmith, Chiang adds, but that seems less likely after Philadelphia signed Caleb Martin.
  • Bryce McGowens, who was waived earlier today, will continue to be part of the Hornets‘ Summer League team, tweets Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer.
  • Brown University assistant coach T.J. Sorrentine was thrilled to get the chance to join Brian Keefe‘s staff with the Wizards, relays Bill Koch of The Providence Journal. “My family was happy. I was in a great spot,” Sorrentine said. “But going through a day with coach Keefe and meeting with people, I left here and I called my wife (Emily) and I was like, ‘Man, it’s going to be really hard to come back to college.’  This was a unique opportunity. That’s when I knew it was time to go. I was ready. I’m going to take full advantage of this opportunity.” Adam Caporn, director of development with the Nets’ coaching staff, has also accepted a job with Washington, according to NetsDaily (Twitter link). Caporn’s hiring had been anticipated.

Heat Sign Kel’el Ware To Rookie Scale Contract

The Heat have officially signed first-round pick Kel’el Ware to his rookie scale contract, the team announced today in a press release. Ware becomes the first player selected in the 2024 draft to formally sign his first NBA contract.

Considered one of the top centers in this year’s rookie class, Ware transferred to Indiana a year ago after spending his freshman year at Oregon. He enjoyed a breakout year for the Hoosiers, averaging 15.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks in 32.2 minutes per game (30 contests), earning All-Big Ten and Big Ten All-Defense honors.

As the No. 15 pick in this year’s draft, Ware will earn a first-year salary of approximately $4.23MM. His four-year deal with Miami, which includes team options on the third and fourth seasons, will be worth about $20.47MM.

While teams can’t complete trades or certain signings until July 6, they’re allowed to sign first- or second-round picks to contracts during the moratorium period, so the Heat didn’t have to wait until Saturday to have Ware put pen to paper.

Southeast Notes: Atlanta, Young, Butler, Ware, Hornets

The Hawks‘ trade of Dejounte Murray will make the roster cheaper, more coherent, and a better fit around star guard Trae Young, The Athletic’s John Hollinger writes. However, it’s not clear whether Young remains in the franchise’s long-term plans.

While the roster might fit better together now, the Hawks have gone 161-157 over the past four seasons and don’t necessarily appear any closer to being a contender in the Eastern Conference. However, due to the original acquisition of Murray, the Spurs control the Hawks’ first-round picks for the next three drafts (unprotected in 2025 and 2027 and an unprotected swap in 2026)

That’s why, Hollinger writes, the Spurs are the most logical trade partner for any deal involving Young. San Antonio is looking for an elite point guard to pair with Victor Wembanyama, and the combined salaries of Devonte’ Graham (whose guarantee date was just pushed back), Zach Collins and Tre Jones match Young’s, Hollinger points out.

Outside of Young, offers for the likes of Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter have been lacking, Hollinger hears from league sources, but more moves out of Atlanta are expected.

For now though, this is Young’s team and the trade of Murray allows for more roster flexibility, including unlocking the non-taxpayer mid-level exception as a result of ducking under the luxury tax line.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat star Jimmy Butler is planning to play out the 2024/25 season and then opt out of his contract and hit unrestricted free agency next year, without signing an extension. While it isn’t the ideal outcome for either side, it represents a middle ground that allows Butler to bet on himself and buys the Heat time to figure out their future. As William Guillory of The Athletic writes, Miami understands Butler is the key to any postseason success this season. Still, Guillory wonders if it might make more sense to turn the page on the Butler era as the team quietly continues building a strong young core.
  • The Heat introduced the newest member of that young core to the media on Friday, with No. 15 overall pick Kel’el Ware making his press debut. “We feel very fortunate that we were able to get the specific player we wanted, that can complement our team, can complement Bam [Adebayo],” Heat president Pat Riley said, per the Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang. Ware immediately becomes the tallest player on Miami’s roster.
  • The Hornets waiving Seth Curry and declining the team option on JT Thor‘s contract suggest they’re preparing to operate as a cap room team if they lose free agent forward Miles Bridges, Hollinger writes in a separate post. The Hornets could create up to $23MM in cap space if they waive the non-guaranteed contracts of Aleksej Pokusevski and Bryce McGowens.
  • The Hornets also introduced draft picks Tidjane Salaün and KJ Simpson on Friday. The duo represents vice president of basketball operations Jeff Peterson‘s first two pieces of his roster vision and culture. “[Salaün and Simpson] just embody everything that we want to be about,” Peterson said, per The Charlotte Observer’s Roderick Boone. “They are extremely unselfish. They work, they understand the importance of putting the time in. It’s the only way you are going to get the results that you want. They compete and they just have an amazing outlook and approach in terms of how to get better on a daily basis. So these two guys just embody exactly what we want to be about going forward.

Southeast Notes: Ware, Highsmith, Martin, Wizards, Lee, Ball

Kel’el Ware gained a reputation of having a low motor during his one season at Oregon. He played with much more effort during his one season with Indiana and that’s why the Heat had no qualms about selecting him with the No.  15 pick, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes.

“I think that’s a low-hanging-fruit description of him,” Adam Simon, the Heat’s VP of basketball operations, said. “Kel’el is not that. I think he went to Oregon, was playing behind an established player, an older player. He played in every game out there, saw a better situation for himself to go to Indiana. For him, he showed what he can do. He played with a motor. He played with intensity. And I think we’re talking about a young player that has an edge to him.”

Simon has another description of Ware in terms of what he brings to the table, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald.

“Kel’el is a three-and-D center,” he said. “It is not easy to find 7-footers who can play out on the perimeter offensively and also be able to defend with his ability to shot block and defend the post. For us, that was very appealing.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Don’t expect the Heat to re-sign both Haywood Highsmith and Caleb Martin in free agency, Chiang reports in a separate story. Highsmith is set to become an unrestricted free agent and Martin holds a $7.1MM option on his contract, which he will likely decline. With the Heat’s payroll already near the second apron, the best Miami can realistically hope for is to re-sign one or the other, Chiang writes.
  • The Wizards’ moves in recent days signal that they’re attempting to build for four or five years down the road, while focusing on the crucial 2025 and 2026 draft lotteries, Josh Robbins of The Athletic opines. They made three selections in Wednesday’s first round. If that trio plays significant minutes as rookies, it’s almost a given the Wizards will be on the fast track to the bottom of the standings the next two seasons as they develop.
  • Charles Lee, the new Hornets coach, said that LaMelo Ball is focused on being durable next season after a couple of injury-riddle campaigns. “I think that he’s just doing all that he can possibly do to make sure that he’s more available this year, a little bit healthier,” Lee told Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Obersver. “Injuries are going to happen, but if you can do a lot of the work on the front end, hopefully you can create some luck where you avoid one or two of these little minor, nagging injuries. And then outside of that, I just think that offensively, he’s going to be a big component or a big part of us being able to play fast.”
  • The Hornets are coming off a 21-win season but Lee is impressed with the talent level within the roster, according to the Associated Press. “We have a very, very good team here,” Lee said. “We’ve been snakebit with some injuries. … But this group is focused on the right things. The expectations are that we are going to compete every night, whether it’s a home game, road game or whoever is playing. This is going to be a group that is together offensively and defensively, no matter who is on the floor.”

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.

Fischer’s Latest: Draft Rumors, Marshall, Young, Kings, Topic, Knicks, Lowry

As several of this year’s green room invitees gathered on Tuesday to speak to the media, there was a sense of uncertainty about how Wednesday’s draft will play out, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who says that many prospects don’t have a real sense of where they’ll be picked.

According to Fischer, the Spurs conducted a meeting with Donovan Clingan over Zoom this past weekend and have been linked to the UConn center more in recent days than they were earlier in the pre-draft process. However, many people around the league believe that’s a smokescreen to entice a team like the Trail Blazers or Grizzlies to trade up to No. 4 to draft him.

If the Grizzlies end up trading down from No. 9, the Heat (No. 15) are viewed as a team that may have interest in moving up, Fischer writes, adding that the Cavaliers at No. 20 have also received a number of calls from teams drafting near the end of the first round with interest in trading up.

The Thunder, who hold the No. 12 pick, have more than enough ammunition in future picks to move up from there if they want to, but if they stand pat, Pittsburgh’s Carlton Carrington is viewed as one possibility for that pick, Fischer reports. Meanwhile, Indiana big man Kel’el Ware has been repeatedly mentioned by league personnel as a candidate to be drafted at No. 19 by the Raptors, Fischer says.

As for the Bucks at No. 23, with rumors circulating that they could move Brook Lopez this offseason, rival teams believe they may be targeting a possible center of the future at that spot. Sources tell Yahoo Sports that Dayton’s DaRon Holmes is one player Milwaukee tried to bring in for a workout, but he declined that invitation. However, Fischer confirms – as Michael Scotto of HoopsHype previously reported – that Holmes, who has also been linked to the Kings, doesn’t have a promise from the Nuggets.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • If the Mavericks are unable to re-sign Derrick Jones and have a hole to fill on the wing, they’re expected to show interest in Pelicans free agent Naji Marshall, sources tell Fischer, who adds that the Pistons are another potential suitor to watch for Marshall.
  • The Lakers, Pelicans, and Spurs are among the possible destinations that would appeal to Trae Young if the Hawks decide to move him, Fischer says.
  • While the Kings continue to explore the market for a potential deal involving the No. 13 pick and one or both of Harrison Barnes and Kevin Huerter, they don’t appear to have gained any momentum toward a deal for either Hawks guard (Young or Dejounte Murray), Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, or any other player of that caliber, Fischer writes.
  • The Magic hired Milenko TopicNikola Topic‘s father and a former coach in Serbia and Hungary – to a front office role this past season, per Fischer. That’s a key reason why people around the league believe Orlando at No. 18 is the floor for Nikola in Wednesday’s draft, though he may not make it that far.
  • After agreeing to acquire Mikal Bridges from Brooklyn, the Knicks might not be done adding former Villanova Wildcats. In a separate Yahoo Sports story on the Bridges deal, Fischer cites sources who say veteran point guard Kyle Lowry has been mentioned as a possible free agent target for New York.

Atlantic Notes: Porzingis, Celtics, Knicks, Nets

Injured Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis is expected to undergo surgery on his left leg injury in the coming days, the team announced today in a press release (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston).

Porzingis told ESPN after the NBA Finals ended last week that his injury – a torn retinaculum and dislocated posterior tibialis tendon – would require surgery, so this news doesn’t come as a surprise. However, as the Celtics explain in their announcement, the star center had hoped to put off surgery until after Latvia’s Olympic qualifying tournament — and potentially its trip to Paris. That won’t be possible, as Porzingis is unable to play through the injury at the level required for Olympic competition, per the team.

The Celtics are expected to provide updates on Porzingis’ recovery timeline after the surgery is completed. Latvia, meanwhile, will look to claim a spot in the 12-team men’s basketball Olympic tournament without Porzingis available. In order to clinch an Olympic berth, the Latvians will need to win a six-team qualifying tournament over Georgia, Brazil, Cameroon, Montenegro, and the Philippines. That tournament will take place from July 2-7 in Riga, Latvia.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Revisiting the Celtics‘ series of trades from last year, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reports that Boston still would have traded away Marcus Smart during the 2023 offseason even if its initial deal for Porzingis – which involved sending Malcolm Brogdon to the Clippers – hadn’t fallen through. According to O’Connor, if that Brogdon trade had been completed, the Celtics intended to send Smart to the Grizzlies in a separate deal for Tyus Jones and the two draft picks Boston got in the final Porzingis trade. In that scenario, the C’s may not have been in position to acquire Jrue Holiday later in the offseason.
  • Indiana center Kel’el Ware, Akron forward Enrique Freeman, and San Francisco forward Jonathan Mogbo are among the prospects who have worked out for the Knicks recently, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv. New York currently holds the 24th and 25th overall picks in the first round on Wednesday, along with No. 38 on Thursday.
  • Fred Katz and Andrew Schlecht of The Athletic spoke to an Eastern Conference executive about several possible draft options for the Knicks, evaluating the pros and cons of Ryan Dunn, Kyshawn George, DaRon Holmes II, and Mogbo, among others.
  • The NBA’s Board of Governors has voted to approve the sale of 15% of the Nets‘ parent company (BSE Global) to billionaire Julia Koch and her family, according to Kurt Badenhausen of Sportico. For more details on the Kochs buying into the Nets, you can read our full story here.

Draft Notes: Green Room, Mock Drafts, Samuel

Four more players have received green room invites for the 2024 NBA draft. Dayton’s DaRon Holmes II, Indiana’s Kel’el Ware, Colorado’s Tristan Da Silva and Pittsburgh’s Carlton Carrington have all accepted invitations to attend the draft in person, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (all Twitter links here).

Holmes, the A-10 Player of the Year, averaged 20.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.1 blocks per game last season while shooting 54.4% from the field and 38.6% from three. He’s listed at No. 39 on ESPN’s big board and is the lowest-ranked prospect on that list to be invited.

Ware (No. 24 on ESPN’s list) averaged 15.9 points and 9.9 rebounds this season in 30 games with Indiana after transferring from Oregon. Da Silva (No. 17 on ESPN) is a toolsy forward who spent all four seasons of his college career at Colorado. He averaged 16.0 PPG this season while making 39.5% of his 4.8 three-point attempts per game. Carrington (No. 19) made the ACC’s All-Freshman Team this season after averaging 13.8 PPG and 4.1 APG, establishing himself as a premier pull-up mid-range shooter.

Holmes, Ware, Da Silva and Carrington join France’s Zaccharie Risacher, Alex Sarr and Tidjane Salaun, Serbia’s Nikola Topic, UConn’s Donovan Clingan and Stephon Castle, Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham, Duke’s Jared McCain and Kyle Filipowski, Colorado’s Cody Williams, Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht, Providence’s Devin Carter, Baylor’s Yves Missi and Ja’Kobe Walter, Kansas’s Johnny Furphy, Miami’s Kyshawn George, USC’s Isaiah Collier and the G League Ignite’s Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland as the 24 players who accepted invitations to the green room. Purdue’s Zach Edey also received an invite, which he declined.

We have more draft-related notes:

  • There’s plenty of room for change in the next week leading up to the draft, but for now James L. Edwards of The Athletic sees Sarr as the best prospect in this class and believes he’s the player the Hawks should take at No. 1 if they don’t trade down. In a new mock draft that also involves Kelly Iko and Josh Robbins, The Athletic has Risacher going second to the Wizards and Castle going third to the Rockets. Carter going No. 8 to the Spurs and Holland falling to No. 11 to Chicago are among some of the more intriguing picks in the mock.
  • The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor doesn’t view Sarr or Risacher as the best players in this class, according to his latest big board, but still has Atlanta selecting Risacher in his latest mock. O’Connor lists Castle, Clingan and Buzelis as the best three players in the class, in that order. He has Holland as the 13th-best player and Bobi Klintman as the No. 18 prospect in the class. Terrence Shannon Jr., Nikola Djurisic and Trentyn Flowers are other prospects O’Connor has first-round grades on, deviating from the consensus. As for his mock, O’Connor has Sarr going second to Washington, Sheppard going third to Houston and Buzelis going fourth to San Antonio.
  • Former Florida and Seton Hall forward Tyrese Samuel has worked out for the Knicks, Spurs, Nets, Heat, Jazz, Bulls, Pelicans, Cavaliers, Raptors, Suns, Lakers and Pistons, NJ.com’s Adam Zagoria tweets. The 6-10 Samuel averaged 13.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks last season for Florida.

Draft Rumors: Hawks, Risacher, Sarr, Knecht, C. Williams, Dillingham, More

The Hawks don’t appear to have made any final decisions yet, but intel from teams around the league suggests forward Zaccharie Risacher still looks like the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick, Jonathan Givony writes in ESPN’s latest mock draft (Insider link). Risacher is working out for Atlanta on Wednesday.

While Alexandre Sarr is widely considered to be another contender for that No. 1 pick, Givony says the Hawks have been unable to get the French big man in for a workout so far, and suggests that UConn center Donovan Clingan might be Risacher’s top competition for the top spot in the draft. Clingan impressed Atlanta during his workout with his passing ability and his performance in film study and interviews, according to Givony.

The Hawks have brought in several lottery prospects for workouts, including Reed Sheppard, Matas Buzelis, Cody Williams, and Ron Holland, Givony notes, which suggests they’re preparing for potential trade-down scenarios as well. One possibility that has been “widely discussed” by rival teams, per Givony, is a deal with the Spurs that would see the Hawks move down to No. 4 and get back one of their draft assets controlled by San Antonio, such as Atlanta’s 2025 first-rounder. A move along those lines would put the Hawks in a better position to rebuild, as Givony observes.

If Atlanta doesn’t select Sarr with the No. 1 pick, teams and agents believe he’ll come off the board at No. 2 to the Wizards, per Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Both Wasserman and ESPN have Sarr second overall in their latest mock drafts.

Here are several more draft-related tidbits from ESPN and Bleacher Report:

  • Dalton Knecht‘s draft range seems increasingly small, according to Givony, who says that every team between No. 4 and No. 9 (with the exception of the Pistons at No. 5) has shown interest in the Tennessee forward.
  • Rival teams are predicting that Colorado’s Cody Williams will be picked higher than expected, possibly by the Spurs or Pistons, says Wasserman, who has Williams at No. 7 in his mock. Givony adds that Williams has worked out or will work out for nearly every team in the top 10 (except for the Rockets) and that teams with lower picks haven’t been able to bring him in, signaling that his camp is confident about his draft range.
  • Kentucky’s Rob Dillingham hasn’t been able to work out for teams for most of the pre-draft process due to an ankle injury, prompting speculation that he could slide on draft night, according to both ESPN’s Jeremy Woo and Wasserman. ESPN has Dillingham coming off the board at No. 8 to the Spurs, but Wassmeran’s sources believe San Antonio is an unlikely landing spot based on what the team is signaling to agents. Wasserman has the former Wildcats guard at No. 11 in his mock.
  • Ja’Kobe Walter, one of the first 12 players who received a green room invite, worked out for teams like the Pistons, Hornets, Spurs, Jazz, and Kings, per Givony, which bodes well for his odds of being a lottery pick.
  • French forward Tidjane Salaun worked out for the Thunder, Kings, and Trail Blazers, then sprained his ankle at a workout with the Spurs this past weekend, Givony reports. Salaun had also lined up workouts with the Pistons and Hornets, but his ankle injury might prevent those sessions from happening.
  • Serbian point guard Nikola Topic has had a handful of meetings scheduled with lottery teams, including the Trail Blazers, Spurs, Grizzlies, and Jazz, Givony writes. However, Givony cautions that a team interested in picking Topic will have to prepare for the possibility of a redshirt rookie year due to the guard’s partially torn ACL.
  • Teams were “buzzing” about Indiana center Kel’el Ware after a strong shooting display at his pro day, according to Wasserman, who says the big man is receiving consideration as high as the late lottery. Givony agrees that Ware seems to be building momentum in the pre-draft process, but notes that he hasn’t received a green room invite yet — that could change later this week when the final invites are sent out. According to Givony, Ware has worked out for over a dozen teams, ranging from late-lottery clubs to those near the end of the first round. The Bucks are one of those teams, and ESPN’s mock has Ware going to Milwaukee at No. 23.