Kyshawn George

Wizards Sign First-Rounders Alex Sarr, Kyshawn George

The Wizards have signed a pair of their first-round picks, locking up big man Alex Sarr and swingman Kyshawn George to their rookie scale contracts, per the NBA’s official transaction log.

Sarr, 19, spent the 2023/24 season in Australia’s National Basketball League, where he averaged 9.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game with the Perth Wildcats. The 7’1″ center, who has elite upside as a rim protector and defensive presence, was considered a strong candidate to be the first overall pick in the 2024 draft but ultimately ended up going to the Wizards at No. 2. He’ll be a cornerstone for Washington to build around for years to come.

George, the No. 24 overall pick out of Miami, will be another one of the Wizards’ long-term building blocks going forward. A 6’8″ wing, George started 16 of the 31 games he played for Miami in his freshman season in 2023/24. While his averages of 7.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 23.0 minutes per contest were relatively modest, the youngster can handle the ball and has displayed a promising outside shot, having knocked down 40.8% of 4.2 three-pointers per game.

The Wizards actually made three first-round selections in last week’s draft, but don’t yet officially have the third one – No. 14 pick Carlton Carrington – on their roster, since that pick was part of the Deni Avdija/Malcolm Brogdon trade that still needs to be formally completed. That should happen soon now that the moratorium period has ended, putting Carrington on track to ink his rookie contract too.

Assuming they sign for the maximum allowable 120% of the standard rookie scale amount, Sarr will get a four-year deal worth about $51MM ($11.25MM in year one), while George’s four-year contract will be worth approximately $14.34MM ($2.83MM as a rookie).

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Martin, Murray, Bridges

The Wizards held a press conference Saturday to introduce their three first-round picks, who are products of an aggressive strategy to add young talent in this year’s draft, writes Sapna Bansil of The Washington Post. Heading into Wednesday night with the second and 26th selections, Washington took Alexandre Sarr at No. 2 as expected, then traded up to No. 14 to grab Carlton Carrington and moved up to No. 24 to add Kyshawn George.

“We walked into [the draft] Wednesday night and had a plan in place,” general manager Will Dawkins told reporters. “We were aligned from top to bottom. We were strategic, [and] we were aggressive and made sure that we accomplished our goals. So with these three young men to my left, we feel like we’re adding a few more bricks to that base-level foundation that we talked about at the end of the season.”

Sarr, a 7’0″ center, becomes the cornerstone of the franchise and an anchor for the defense. Carrington will provide scoring punch in the backcourt, while George is a wing who can handle the ball and shoot threes. All three players are expected to be part of the Wizards’ Summer League team.

Bansil notes that for the second straight year, the front office prioritized athleticism, positional size and the ability to contribute on both ends of the court. They also looked for players who are mentally tough enough to handle rebuilding.

“Not every team [has] three first-round picks, and I think it was just very cool to be able to be with these guys that enjoy the game, are very positive and are easygoing people,” George said. “We’re all in the same boat, and getting to start this rebuild as a young group, young core is very exciting.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat are unlikely to be able to re-sign free agent forward Caleb Martin, a source tells Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Martin, who declined his $7.13MM player option on Saturday, may get offers for the full $12.9MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception, Chiang adds. Re-signing him would mean second-apron status for Miami, which may now prioritize keeping Haywood Highsmith. They have been talking since teams were allowed to start negotiating with their own free agents, and Chiang hears there’s mutual interest in a new deal. Chiang also reveals that second-round pick Pelle Larsson is expected to sign a standard contract for next season worth between $1-2MM, although a two-way deal remains an option depending on how the rest of the roster comes together.
  • In a SportsCenter appearance (video link), ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said there was “more of a market” to trade Dejounte Murray than fellow Hawks guard Trae Young. Murray is heading to New Orleans in exchange for a package that includes the Lakers’ first-round pick next year, and Wojnarowski said Atlanta was determined to land a selection in what’s projected to be a strong 2025 draft.
  • There’s still no clarity on Miles Bridges‘ future with the Hornets, per Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Bridges has been able to negotiate with the team for the past week-and-a-half, but Boone states that there hasn’t been “a hint of much traction” and the forward appears ready to test the open market.

Knicks Trade No. 24 Pick Kyshawn George To Wizards

JUNE 27: The Knicks have officially confirmed (via Twitter) that their deal with the Wizards has been finalized.

JUNE 26: The Wizards have agreed to acquire the No. 24 overall pick from the Knicks and are using it to draft Miami guard Kyshawn George, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links).

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), Washington is giving up the 26th and 51th overall selections in exchange for George’s rights.

The Knicks had controlled both the No. 24 and No. 25 picks, so the Wizards presumably felt as if New York would use one of those selections to nab George, or that another team would move up ahead of them for the former Hurricane.

In his freshman season at Miami, George averaged 7.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 23.0 minutes per game, with a shooting line of .426/.408/.778. The Wizards will make the freshman wing their third draft pick of the night — he joins No. 2 pick Alexandre Sarr and No. 14 pick Carlton Carrington on the retooling squad, which is going all-in on player development and building through the draft.

The Knicks, meanwhile, essentially agreed to push their consecutive first-round picks by one spot – they now control the 25th and 26th picks instead of Nos. 24 and 25 – and acquired an extra second-round selection for their trouble.

They’ll reportedly flip that No. 26 pick to the Thunder in exchange for five future second-round picks.

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.

Scotto’s Latest: Hartenstein, Knicks, Kuminga, Holmes, Missi, Lakers, More

Because they only hold his Early Bird rights, the Knicks are limited to a four-year offer worth approximately $72.5MM for Isaiah Hartenstein, and Michael Scotto of HoopsHype hears from league sources that New York is expected to put that full offer on the table for the free agent center.

Ian Begley of previously reported that the Knicks are considering other options at center, including Goga Bitadze, in the event that they’re unable to retain Hartenstein. Scotto confirms as much, writing that free agent big man Jonas Valanciunas and potential trade target Nick Richards of the Hornets are among the other fives on New York’s radar. There’s also an “outside chance,” sources tell Scotto, that the Knicks would consider pursuing Andre Drummond if they can’t bring back Hartenstein.

Here are several more highlights from Scotto’s aggregate mock draft at HoopsHype, which features many other items of interest that we passed along earlier in the day:

  • Jonathan Kuminga, who will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, is expected to remain with the Warriors for the foreseeable future unless the team has an opportunity to acquire an All-NBA caliber player, writes Scotto.
  • While there have been rumors that Dayton forward DaRon Holmes II received a draft promise from the Nuggets, Scotto hears that there’s no truth to that chatter, adding that multiple executives believe Holmes will be drafted before Denver picks at No. 28.
  • Baylor center Yves Missi is among the prospects who have worked out for the Lakers and is someone to keep an eye on at No. 17, Scotto writes.
  • Scotto’s aggregate mock draft has KJ Simpson coming off the board at No. 49, but he says the Colorado guard is a potential target to watch for the Timberwolves earlier in the draft. Minnesota currently holds the 27th and 37th overall picks.
  • Kyshawn George has some fans within the Cavaliers‘ organization, according to Scotto, who suggests that the Miami guard could be “an upside pick for the future” at No. 20.
  • Brendan Sabean, who most recently served as the assistant general manager of the Austin Spurs, is expected to be hired as the GM of Phoenix’s new G League affiliate, the Valley Suns, league sources tell Scotto.

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: Knecht, Bjorkgren, Blazers, Jazz, Wolves

Tennessee star Dalton Knecht had a solo pre-draft workout with the Trail Blazers on Thursday, tweets Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report. The 23-year-old wing is ranked No. 8 on ESPN’s big board, while Portland controls a pair of lottery picks (Nos. 7 and 14) and two second-rounders (Nos. 34 and 40).

ESPN recently reported that each team in the 6-10 range holds “strong interest” in Knecht, who averaged 21.7 points and 4.9 rebounds on .458/.397/.772 shooting in 36 games for the Volunteers in 2023/24 (30.6 minutes per contest).

Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) hears the Blazers will host a 3-on-3 workout next week “that’s supposed to feature” G League Ignite wing Ron Holland, French forward Tidjane Salaun, Virginia wing Ryan Dunn, Purdue center Zach Edey, Baylor center Yves Missi, and Miami guard Kyshawn George. Five of those prospects are projected first-round picks — the only exception is Dunn, who is No. 34 on ESPN’s board.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Nate Bjorkgren, who went 34-38 as head coach of the Pacers in 2020/21, has been attending Portland’s recent pre-draft workouts, according to Highkin, who points out (via Twitter) that the Trail Blazers have some vacancies on their coaching staff. Bjorkgren had two stints as an assistant with Toronto, most recently in ’22/23.
  • In a press release, the Jazz announced several members of their basketball operations staff have been promoted to new positions. Shane Fenske, who previously served as VP of analytics and insights, is now an assistant GM. Assistant coach Sean Sheldon will move to the front of head coach Will Hardy‘s bench, as previously reported. Andrew Warren, who has been an assistant video coordinator the past two seasons, is now an assistant coach. Several other basketball operations employees have new positions as well.
  • Chris Hine of The Star Tribune examines which players on the Timberwolves‘ roster will return in 2024/25, while John Hollinger of The Athletic wonders if “really good” can be good enough for Wolves guard Anthony Edwards.

Pacific Notes: Hurley, Lakers, Bronny, Suns, Kings

UConn’s Dan Hurley is meeting with the Lakers regarding their head coaching vacancy on Friday. L.A. is reportedly going to offer Hurley a “significant” contract in terms of both years and salary.

A source close to Hurley tells Jeff Goodman of The Field Of 68 (via Twitter) that it’s “50-50” whether the 51-year-old accepts the job or returns to the Huskies in pursuit of a third consecutive national championship.

According to Goodman (Twitter links), UConn has an offer extended to Hurley that would make him the third-highest paid college coach in the country, behind only Bill Self and John Calipari. However, there’s an expectation that the school’s offer will likely pale in comparison to what the Lakers will put on the table.

Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson was enthusiastic about the prospect of the Lakers hiring Hurley, as Chuck Schilken of The Los Angeles Times relays (subscriber link).

I like Hurley,” Johnson said. “I want the coach to be Hurley. … He has a championship background. He’s great with offensive and defensive strategy. I think that the players will respect him. And he’s tough. The Lakers gotta have somebody who will hold them accountable, right?

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Howard Beck of The Ringer argues that Hurley shouldn’t be viewed as a risky candidate despite never coaching at the NBA level. The Lakers‘ top target has admirers around the NBA, such as longtime assistant Ron Adams, who is currently with the Warriors. “I think he’s a marvelous coach,” Adams said of Hurley. “He comes from a tremendous basketball family. … I think his skill set is excellent for coming into the pros. … I know a lot of people will say, ‘Well, he’s a really demanding coach.’ Well yes, and that’s going to be a strength in the pros. You may have to dress it up differently, but that will be a strength of his if he’s good with people and good at bringing out the best version of a player. That’s going to work in the pros, too.”
  • USC guard Bronny James, who is ranked No. 53 on ESPN’s big board, had a strong showing during a workout with the Suns on Wednesday, sources tell Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Villanova guard Mark Armstrong and West Virginia guard Raequan Battle also impressed Phoenix during the group workout, according to Rankin. The Suns hold the No. 22 pick in this month’s draft.
  • Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports examines five big men the Suns could target with their first-round pick, including Baylor’s Yves Missi and Indiana’s Kel’el Ware.
  • The Kings hosted a pre-draft workout on Wednesday featuring Weber State’s Dillon Jones, Creighton’s Trey Alexander, Pitt’s Carlton Carrington and Miami’s Kyshawn George, a league source tells Brenden Nunes of Sactown Sports 1140. Sacramento controls the No. 13 and No. 45 picks in the 2024 draft. George (No. 19) and Carrington (No. 20) are projected first-round picks, according to ESPN, while Jones (No. 48) and Alexander (No. 65) are potential second-rounders.

Draft Notes: George, Storr, McCollum, Huntley, Clayton, Brazile

Projected first-round pick Kyshawn George believes he’ll immediately be a two-way asset for any team that drafts him, he told Michael Scotto and Cyro Asseo de Choch of HoopsHype.

“I think I’m a very dangerous shooter from the outside who can shoot from deep and make a shot from everywhere on the court,” George said. “I’m long and a versatile player. I’m a good defender who can bother shots with my length, and I have quick hands. I think I’m a smart player, too.”

George is ranked No. 19 on ESPN’s Best Available list. The native of Switzerland played the point most of his formative years but is projected as a shooting guard. The 6’8” George averaged 7.6 points and 2.2 assists in 31 games with Miami University last season while knocking down 40.8% of his 3-point attempts.

“I try to learn from various players,” he said. “I study ball handling like Luka Doncic, shooting like Klay Thompson, and pace like Doncic. I pick up different elements from different players to improve my game.”

We have more draft-related news:

  • Guard AJ Storr has withdrawn from the draft and will play for Kansas next season, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Storr is transferring from Wisconsin, where he averaged 16.8 PPG last season.
  • Javian McCollum is withdrawing and will transfer to Georgia Tech, Rothstein tweets. McCollum averaged 13.3 PPG for Oklahoma last season. Appalachian State’s CJ Huntley and Florida’s Walter Clayton will also return to college, per Rothstein (Twitter links).
  • Forward Trevon Brazile has changed his mind and will now withdraw from the draft, Rothstein adds in another tweet. Brazile, who played for Arkansas last season, previously stated he was “100 percent into the draft.” It’s uncertain where he’ll play next season.

Draft Notes: Combine, Mocks, Holland, Trade Rumors, Osobor

Boogie Ellis (USC), Isaac Jones (Washington State), Jesse Edwards (West Virginia), Nae’Qwan Tomlin (Memphis), and Enrique Freeman (Akron) are among the prospects who stood out at the G League Elite Camp over the weekend and earned invitations to participate in the NBA’s combine this week, according to a series of tweets from Jonathan Givony of ESPN. The G League officially confirmed Givony’s reporting (Twitter link).

The combine got underway in Chicago on Monday, with all participants taking part in shooting drills and undergoing strength, agility, and performance testing.

Language in the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement requires all prospects to participate in those aspects of the combine, though they’re still permitted to opt out of this week’s scrimmages. Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) identifies several of the fringe first-rounders who have decided to pass on scrimmaging, including Kyshawn George (Miami), Carlton Carrington (Pittsburgh), Kevin McCullar (Kansas), and Johnny Furphy (Kansas), among many others.

As Chase Hughes of Monumental Sports Network tweets, prospects whose international teams’ seasons haven’t ended are permitted to miss the combine, but those players – including Zaccharie Risacher of JL Bourg and Nikola Topic (Crvena Zvezda) – will be required to complete “pre-draft activities” at a later date.

Here are several more draft-related notes:

  • Wasserman, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, and Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo of updated their 2024 mock drafts following the conclusion of Sunday’s lottery to reflect the new order. All three mocks have the Hawks using the No. 1 overall pick on French big man Alexandre Sarr.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic has shared his rankings of the top 20 prospects in the 2024 draft class, with plenty of choices that deviate from the consensus. Hollinger has G League Ignite guard Ron Holland at No. 1, with Sarr at No. 5 and Risacher (ESPN’s top prospect) all the way down at No. 13.
  • Zach Lowe of ESPN (Insider link) and Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, two of the media members who were in the draft lottery drawing room on Sunday, share some behind-the-scenes observations from the event and consider what’s next for the teams most impacted by Sunday’s results. Sources tell Lowe that the Rockets (No. 3) and Grizzlies (No. 9) are expected to be among the teams that explore trade possibilities with their picks, though both teams could ultimately end up hanging onto their lottery selections. Meanwhile, Wizards general manager Will Dawkins told Fischer that he thinks “there are multiple All-Stars in this class.” Washington holds the No. 2 pick.
  • Coming off his junior year at Utah State, forward Great Osobor is testing the NBA draft waters, but it sounds like he’ll end up transferring to a new school for his senior year. According to Givony, Osobor has an NIL deal in place with Washington worth $2MM, which is the most lucrative known deal in college basketball this season.
  • A series of ESPN’s NBA reporters explore the biggest questions facing every lottery team.