Ognjen Jaramaz

New York Notes: Nets, Knicks, Robinson

The Nets had a quiet trade deadline last week, making just one small move when they acquired a second-round pick by taking on Greg Monroe‘s contract and sending a little cash to Toronto. While Brooklyn is having its best season in years and is in position to make the playoffs, general manager Sean Marks isn’t concerned about not making any moves to upgrade the roster, as Tom Dowd of BrooklynNets.com writes.

“As it pertains to our particular trade deadline, maybe one of the biggest things was getting guys back healthy,” Marks said. “That might have been the biggest addition to our group without trying to cause too much disruption to the culture and to the group. Let’s see what we’ve got first and foremost.”

As Dowd relays, Marks said that the Nets are definitely “headed in the right direction.” However, he’s not going to let the club’s success this season change the long-term plans, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

“We’ll continue to be systematic and strategic along the way. Does that mean we pivot along the way here and there? Sure. We’ve had to do that in the last couple years,” Marks said. “But I would hope that we don’t skip a step as you mentioned before, that’s never been the goal here. Again, it’s always been about putting something sustainable there with a strong foundation.”

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • After waiving Monroe, the Nets were left with an open spot on their 15-man roster. Michael Scotto of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at options the team figures to consider for that opening.
  • Knicks head coach David Fizdale has talked throughout the season about sticking to the franchise’s long-term plan, but presumably that plan didn’t involve trading Kristaps Porzingis, writes Newsday’s Steve Popper. Nonetheless, Fizdale defended the move: “Well, you don’t have a choice. What’s your option? You’re going to lose him. So you’re going to sit there and not have nothing sitting there? Or do you want to have two picks, cap space and a heck of a point guard in Dennis Smith Jr., who’s in his second year?”
  • Marc Berman of The New York Post, pointing out that Fizdale said 10 days before the trade that Porzingis was “really engaged” with the team, calls out the head coach for not being willing to admit that the Knicks‘ plans went awry.
  • Ognjen Jaramaz, the 58th overall pick in the 2017 draft, has moved from Spain to Serbia, joining KK Partizan, agent Misko Raznatovic confirms (via Twitter). As Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports notes (via Twitter), Jaramaz’s NBA rights are held by the Knicks, though it’s not clear if he’s in the team’s long-term plans at all.
  • Rookie Knicks center Mitchell Robinson has changed agents again, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com, who tweets that Robinson has signed with Dynasty Sports and will be repped by Mayar Zokaei.

Knicks Notes: Rose, Ntilikina, Jaramaz, Jackson

Derrick Rose‘s agent, B.J. Armstrong, would like to meet with the Knicks before free agency begins Saturday, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. New York could head off Rose’s free agency by working out an extension this week, and team president Phil Jackson said, “We’re listening,” when asked about that possibility. Rose has been cleared for running and contact after surgery in April to fix a torn meniscus. “It’s a matter of wanting to hear from them and their vision of what the team is trying to do,” Armstrong said. “We stated our intention … once we got traded there, we want to be in New York. At the same time, we have to see what it is and go from there. Let’s listen and gather information.’’

The Timberwolves are expected to be a contender for Rose, with one GM telling Berman that Minnesota coach/executive Tom Thibodeau would bring in all his former Bulls players if he had the opportunity. The Wolves, who traded for Jimmy Butler on Thursday, talked to the Knicks about a swap of Rose and Ricky Rubio in February, but pulled out before the deal could be completed. Sources told Berman that others in the Minnesota organization convinced Thibodeau not to make the trade because Rose wouldn’t be guaranteed to stay.

There’s more news out of New York:

  • Knicks fans chanted “Fire Phil” at the draft and booed owner James Dolan as his band played across town, but there was no negative reception for first-rounder Frank Ntilikina, writes Steve Popper of USA Today. The French point guard provides optimism and enthusiasm for an organization that can’t seem to escape chaos. “What I will bring to the Knicks, actually a lot of hope,” Ntilikina said. “I think I’m a player who will trust the process, work hard, and definitely try to be the best player I can be, who will give energy. I think I’m a team point guard and shooting guard actually. I’ll just try to make my teammates be better every day, and I think I can play defense, too.”
  • ESPN’s Frank Fraschilla, an expert on international prospects, thinks Ntilikina has a bright future in the NBA, but not the Knicks’ No. 58 pick, Berman notes in a separate story. Serbian Ognjen Jaramaz is a draft-and-stash player who might never make it onto the Knicks’ roster. “Chances are he’ll never play in the NBA and Knicks fans will never see him other than summer league,’’ Fraschilla said. “He’s an older international kid, very limited upside. He’s a hard-nosed competitor but not really a great athlete or shooter.”
  • Drafting an 18-year-old and seemingly launching a youth movement are signs that Jackson is planning to stay in New York for a long time, writes Mike Lupica of The New York Daily News. Lupica notes that with a $12MM-a-year-salary and no chance to return to the Lakers now that a new management team is in place, Jackson has nothing but time.

Southeast Notes: Millsap, White, Vasquez, NBA Draft

The Hawks are planning on using their 19th overall pick in the NBA Draft on the best player available and Paul Millsap‘s contract situation will not change that, per Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (links via Twitter).

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk told Vivlamore for a separate story that Millsap “might get better offers than we can make him.” Despite Atlanta’s desire to retain the four-time All-Star, the team is focused on assembling the best roster possible and worry about Millsap — or replacing him — afterward.

“You draft the best talent available regardless who is on your roster. … I think that’s when you get in trouble, when you draft off need not off talent,” Schlenk said. “Especially the way the league is going where guys are interchangeable and guys are multi-positional, you just take the best player.”

The Hawks went 43-39 last season, making the postseason as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. However, last year’s prized offseason acquisition Dwight Howard struggled in the postseason and expressed his issues with his lack of playing time; the team is also facing several potential departures in unrestricted free agency, such as Ersan Ilyasova, Kris Humphries and Mike Muscala. While those decisions will shape the 2017/18 Hawks, the club will look to attain the strongest asset in the NBA draft before worrying about anything else.

Below are notes from around the Southeast Division:

International Prospects Withdrawing From Draft

With the deadline for early entrants to withdraw from the NBA draft just a few hours away (4:00pm central time), a number of international prospects have removed their names from consideration.

We’ll be updating this list today if and when more decisions are reported. For now though, nine international players whose intentions had been previously unreported have withdrawn from draft consideration, and won’t be eligible to be picked until at least 2017. According to ESPN’s Chad Ford (all Twitter links), the following prospects have removed their names from the 2016 NBA draft:

  • Diego Flaccadori, SG
  • Marko Guduric, SF
  • Ognjen Jaramaz, PG
  • Alpha Kaba, F/C
  • Emircan Kosut, C
  • Mathias Lessort, PF/C
  • Adam Pechacek, PF
  • Jordan Sakho, C
  • Kenan Sipahi, PG

Four Overseas First-Round Prospects Enter Draft

11:51am: Raznatovic client and first-round prospect Ante Zizic has also entered the draft, as the agent says and Eurohoops.net confirms (Twitter link). Zizic, a 6’11” center who plays for Croatia’s KK Cibona, is No. 22 on Ford‘s list and No. 26 on Givony‘s. The 19-year-old’s athleticism and frame offer promise, but his offensive skills need work, as Givony examined in February.

8:58am: Swingman Timothe Luwawu, shooting guard Furkan Korkmaz and center Ivica Zubac are the first-round prospects among a group of nine overseas players who’ve entered the draft, as their agent, Misko Raznatovic, revealed (Twitter links). Small forwards Marko Guduric and Rade Zagorac, point guard Ognjen Jaramaz, forward/center Alpha Kaba and centers Emircan Kosut and Jordan Shako are the others who’ve declared. All of them have until June 13th, 10 days before the draft, to withdraw.

Luwawu, a 6’7″ 20-year-old from France, has a decent shot to become a lottery pick as the No. 12 prospect in Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress rankings. Chad Ford of ESPN.com lists him 19th. His strengths include an emerging 3-point game, passing and intriguing defensive skill, while ball-handling and a lack of willingness to finish inside are his weaknesses, as Givony observed in February. Luwawu plays for Serbia’s KK Mega Vizura.

Korkmaz appears poised to be drafted in the same range. Ford ranks him 13th while Givony has him at No. 18. The 6’7″ 18-year-old combines a well-honed 3-point stroke with impressive athleticism, but his defense lags behind, as Givony also examined in February. Korkmaz is with Anadolu Efes of Turkey.

The analysts are split on Zubac, with Givony pegging him 25th while Ford has him all the way down at 71st. The physical tools of the 7’1″ 19-year-old, along with his offensive upside and productivity, are his strengths while his defensive fundamentals, lack of polish and history of injuries are the trouble spots, as Mike Schmitz of DraftExpress examines in a pair of videos. Zubac is a teammate of Luwawu’s on KK Mega Vizura.

The 6’8″, 20-year-old Zagorac, another KK Mega Vizura player, has the highest ranking among the other prospects, coming in 72nd in Givony‘s rankings, though Ford doesn’t list him. The 6’10”, 20-year-old Kaba is Ford‘s 83rd-ranked prospect and 49th in Givony‘s 2017 mock draft, though Givony doesn’t list him among the top 2016 hopefuls. He along with Jaramaz, who’s 6’4″ and 20 years old, also play for KK Mega Vizura. Guduric, a 6’6″ 21-year-old, plays for a rival Serbian team, KK Crvena Zvezda. Shako, a 6’10” 19-year-old, is with Torrelodones of Spain.