Olivier-Maxence Prosper

Southwest Notes: Capela, Mavericks, Cissoko, Grizzlies

The Mavericks are still in the market for a veteran center and would like to acquire Clint Capela from the Hawks as the third team in a potential Pascal Siakam deal, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column.

Atlanta has been pursuing the Toronto forward in trade talks, but an offer centered around De’Andre Hunter may not be enough. The Hawks could be willing to include Capela, who has two years left on his contract at a total of about $43MM, but the Raptors don’t need another high-priced center after re-signing Jakob Poeltl. Stein suggests that Dallas could either try to facilitate the deal or work out a separate trade with Toronto involving Capela.

The Mavs attempted to acquire Capela from the Hawks in June, according to Stein, but they refused to part with Josh Green along with the 10th pick in the draft.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Summer League coach Jared Dudley was impressed with both of the Mavericks‘ rookies, grading Dereck Lively II a “seven out of 10” and Olivier-Maxence Prosper a “nine out of 10,” per Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. “Lively will get there. He has potential. He’s going to be the starting center of the Mavericks one day,” Dudley said. “O-Max is right there. The three-and-D guys, it’s easier to transition. Offense, he’s a bull going at you. He has to work on his decision-making a little when he gets in the paint. But myself and the Dallas Mavericks are happy with what they did.”
  • Spurs rookie Sidy Cissoko‘s ability to attack the basket has stood out during Summer League, observes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. The French forward prepared for the NBA by spending last season in the G League. “I didn’t change my game,” he said. “In my (pre-draft) workouts, I was doing the same thing almost every time. I have this in my game, so I just repeat it over and over. If it is still working, I will not change it.”
  • Jake LaRavia, David Roddy and Ziaire Williams are all possibilities to be the Grizzlies‘ starting small forward when the season begins, according to Damichael Cole of The Commercial Appeal. Memphis didn’t bring in anyone to replace Dillon Brooks after he signed with Houston, so there’s not an obvious choice for the position. Cole adds that once Ja Morant returns from his suspension, he may start alongside Marcus Smart in the backcourt with Desmond Bane sliding to small forward.

Mavericks’ Olivier-Maxence Prosper Becomes Final First-Round Pick To Sign Contract

The Mavericks have signed Olivier-Maxence Prosper to his rookie-scale deal, the team announced in a press release early Monday morning. His signing means all the first-round picks in last month’s draft are now under contract.

As the 24th selection, Prosper is eligible to receive $2,733,720 in his first season and can earn $13,870,583 over the four-year contract, as our breakdown of rookie scale salaries shows.

The 21-year-old forward was one of the top beneficiaries of this year’s pre-draft process. A strong showing at the NBA Combine in Chicago, followed by impressive individual workouts, moved him into the first round.

Prosper was officially selected by the Kings, but Dallas acquired his rights in a draft-night trade that didn’t become official until the moratorium was lifted on July 6.

“O-Max was considered one of the best wing defenders in college basketball last year and plays with tremendous energy,” said Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison. “We are excited to put pen to paper and officially sign him.”  

Prosper played his first collegiate season at Clemson before transferring to Marquette in 2021. He averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game last season.

Eight 2023 Draft Picks Have Yet To Sign NBA Contracts

Of the 58 players who were selected in last month’s draft, 50 have signed their first NBA contracts during the first two weeks they’ve been permitted to do so.

As our tracker shows, the breakdown is as follows:

  • First-round picks signed using the rookie scale exception: 29
  • Second-round picks signed using the new second-round pick exception: 13
    • Note: Of these 13 players, 12 received four-year contracts, while one (Rayan Rupert) signed a three-year deal.
  • Second-round picks signed to two-way contracts: 8

That leaves eight players from the 2023 draft class who have yet to sign with their respective NBA teams. Those players are as follows:

  1. Olivier-Maxence Prosper, Mavericks
  2. James Nnaji, Hornets
  3. Tristan Vukcevic, Wizards
  4. Sidy Cissoko, Spurs
  5. G.G. Jackson, Grizzlies
  6. Mojave King, Pacers
  7. Jordan Miller, Clippers
  8. Tarik Biberovic, Grizzlies

Not all of these players will sign an NBA contract in 2023/24. King and Biberovic are each expected to spend at least one season playing overseas before coming stateside. Vukcevic is another candidate to become a draft-and-stash prospect.

It’s also unclear whether the Hornets plan to sign Nnaji right away or let the 18-year-old big man continue developing his game in Europe. For now, Charlotte only has 12 players on guaranteed contracts for 2023/24, but depending on which restricted free agents (P.J. Washington, Theo Maledon) and players on non-guaranteed deals (JT Thor, Kobi Simmons) return, there might not be a spot for Nnaji, who remains under contract with FC Barcelona and – as a No. 31 overall pick who would require an international buyout – wouldn’t be a candidate for a two-way deal.

Prosper is the only unsigned first-rounder in this year’s class, but the delay doesn’t seem like anything to worry about. The Mavericks, who continued this past week to explore the trade market and consider how to fill out their roster, have taken their time getting around to signing a handful of players, with deals for free agents like Seth Curry and Dante Exum only becoming official on Friday. I’d expect Prosper’s contract to be finalized soon.

That leaves Cissoko, Jackson, and Miller, each of whom look like candidates to receive two-way contracts. Some of the other players drafted in their range, including No. 41 pick Amari Bailey and No. 46 pick Seth Lundy, have received two-way deals, and the Spurs, Grizzlies, and Clippers all have roster logjams, meaning there may not be room on their 15-man rosters for their unsigned second-rounders.

The Spurs will have 17 players on standard contracts once they officially re-sign Tre Jones and Sandro Mamukelashvili. The Grizzlies also have 17 players under contract and would have a full 15-man roster even if they trade or waive Josh Christopher and Isaiah Todd. The Clippers have 16 players on standard contracts (15 guaranteed). However, all three teams have at least one two-way slot available.

Southwest Notes: Lofton, GG Jackson, Prosper, Rockets

Kenneth Lofton Jr. is playing like he belongs in the Grizzlies‘ rotation, which may lead to some difficult decisions this fall, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. The second-year power forward, who posted 24 points and 10 rebounds on Wednesday, is the team’s leading scorer in Summer League. He has also looked better on defense, which was a goal for the offseason.

Cole notes that Lofton changed the team’s plans with a strong Summer League performance last year. The undrafted rookie earned a two-way contract that was upgraded to a standard deal before the playoffs as the Grizzlies parted with Kennedy Chandler.

Memphis’ power rotation appears to be set, according to Cole, so any minutes Lofton earns will come at the expense of an established player. Steven Adams and Jaren Jackson Jr. are both expected to be healthy heading into training camp, while Santi Aldama and Xavier Tillman saw regular playing time last season. Coach Taylor Jenkins typically uses four big men, so Lofton will have to battle for a larger role.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Rookie forward GG Jackson has also impressed Jenkins during Summer League, Cole adds in a separate story. Jackson will likely spend most of the upcoming season in the G League, but he has displayed the potential that made him a highly touted prospect coming out of high school. “I’ve been super thrilled with what he’s shown,” Jenkins said. “You see the physical tools with the capability to make plays on both sides of the floor, defensively I’m loving his rebounding. … Each game he is making progress.”
  • Summer League coach Jared Dudley believes Olivier-Maxence Prosper could make an immediate impact with the Mavericks, tweets Mavs reporter Grant Afseth. Dudley said the rookie power forward understands the game and can score without having plays called for him. “I could see him easily playing for the Mavs this season just because of his defense and his aggressiveness,” Dudley said. “Anytime I tell him to do something, He does it automatically, and it’s no second-guessing it. He does it a hundred miles an hour, so I respect that.”
  • Jabari Smith and Tari Eason only appeared in two Summer League games, but Rockets officials were very happy with what they saw from both second-year players, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Smith was one of the best players in Las Vegas with a total of 71 points (35.5 PPG), while Eason averaged 23 PPG and looked comfortable at either forward position.

Kings Trade Richaun Holmes, Olivier-Maxence Prosper To Mavs

JULY 6: The trade between the Kings and Mavericks is official, according to an announcement from the Mavs (Twitter link). Dallas acquired Holmes into the trade exception created in the Bertans deal, along with the rights to Prosper, in exchange for cash considerations.

JUNE 22: The Kings will trade center Richaun Holmes and the 24th pick to the Mavericks, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Marquette’s Olivier-Maxence Prosper was the selection at No. 24.

Holmes is under contract for 2023/24 at $12MM and holds a $12.8MM player option for the following season. Dallas will acquire him using the traded player exception it created earlier in the night by sending Davis Bertans to Oklahoma City.

Holmes, who had been Sacramento’s starting center for two-and-a-half seasons, saw his playing time slip dramatically after the 2022 trade deadline as Domantas Sabonis took over the starting job. Holmes averaged just 3.1 points and 1.9 rebounds in 42 games while playing 8.3 minutes per night.

The Mavericks continue to add frontline depth after landing Duke center Dereck Lively II with the 12th pick. It appears likely that Holmes will have a larger role in Dallas as the team tries to rebuild its supporting cast around Luka Doncic and the expected return of Kyrie Irving.

Prosper was able to raise his draft stock with an impressive showing at the combine and strong showings throughout the workout process. He reportedly held workouts with at least 16 teams.

The Kings’ return in the deal is not yet known, but it will likely be minimal, since Holmes is considered a salary dump. Sacramento now has the ability to create more than $30MM in cap room this offseason.

Draft Notes: Bufkin, Wizards, Nets, Jazz, Hornets, Hawks, More

The Wizards recently hosted Michigan guard Kobe Bufkin for a private workout, Michael Scotto reports in his latest aggregate mock draft for HoopsHype.

Bufkin hasn’t worked out for many teams, and his draft status has been somewhat mysterious because of that, though many seem to believe his stock is on the rise. He’s currently ranked No. 18 on ESPN’s best available list, while the Wizards control the No. 8 pick.

Here are a few more notes ahead of the 2023 NBA draft, which kicks off in less than three hours:

  • The Nets recently hosted several potential first-round picks for workouts, including Ohio State’s Brice Sensabaugh, South Carolina’s G.G. Jackson, France’s Sidy Cissoko, and Marquette’s Olivier-Maxence Prosper, league sources tell Scotto. Brooklyn currently controls the 21st and 22nd picks in the first round, but the team has reportedly discussed moving up as well.
  • The Jazz have had trade discussions involving packaging two of their three first-rounders (Nos. 9 and 16), according to Scotto, but they’ve also discussed the latter pick on its own in separate deals.
  • Scotto hears from sources who say the Hornets plan to prioritize retaining restricted free agents Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington as well as unrestricted free agent Dennis Smith Jr. Bridges missed all of last season after pleading no contest to felony domestic violence charges.
  • The Hawks have been active in trade discussions, but they’ve also been busy working out prospects. On Tuesday, Atlanta hosted Cason Wallace (Kentucky), Rayan Rupert (New Zealand Breakers), Brandin Podziemski (Santa Clara), Mojave King (G League Ignite), Seth Lundy (Penn State) and Miles Norris (UC Santa Barbara), tweets Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. The Hawks control the Nos. 15 and 46 picks. Incidentally, Wallace is the top-ranked prospect of the group according to ESPN, currently ranked No. 15 on their board.
  • Wichita State guard Craig Porter Jr. recently spoke to Alex Kennedy of BasketballNews.com about a number of topics ahead of the draft.

Celtics Rumors: Pritchard, Draft, G. Williams, Beal, Jefferson

The Celtics have been weighing the possibility of trading Payton Pritchard to try to move into the first round of the 2023 NBA draft, reports Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. Boston doesn’t currently control a first-round pick.

A couple of possible targets could be Marquette wing Olivier-Maxence Prosper and UCLA wing Jaime Jaquez, according to Deveney.

Great organization, great history. I had a really good time there,” Prosper said of his workout with the Celtics.

However, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports suggests (via Twitter) that a potential package deal involving Pritchard and the No. 35 pick might be shelved if the team is able to acquire Kristaps Porzingis from Washington, with Malcolm Brogdon possibly heading to the Clippers and Danilo Gallinari being sent to the Wizards. Losing Brogdon would obviously affect Boston’s backcourt depth and would seemingly open up playing time for Pritchard.

Here are a few more rumors and notes on the Celtics:

  • Multiple league sources tell Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe that if the Celtics do land Porzingis, there’s a good chance Grant Williams may be headed to a new team (Twitter link). As Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype tweets, adding Porzingis’ $36MM contract for 2023/24 would push the club close to the second tax apron, and releasing Williams’ cap hold (along with several others) would give Boston access to the taxpayer mid-level exception. Re-signing Williams would push the Celtics past the second apron.
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston explains why the Celtics weren’t in on the Bradley Beal sweepstakes despite the three-time All-Star’s close ties to Jayson Tatum. Aside from his massive contract and full no-trade clause, which have to be highlighted when talking about a taxpayer like Boston, the Celtics are focused on rebalancing the roster by adding size at other positions rather than acquiring another guard, Forsberg writes.
  • Former NBA big man Amile Jefferson, who was an assistant coach with Duke in ’22/23, is finalizing a multiyear contract to join the Celtics as an assistant, a source tells Travis Branham of 247Sports.com. Jefferson played 30 games with the Magic from 2018-20.

Draft Rumors: Hornets, Miller, Rockets, Whitmore, Sixers, Prosper

The prevailing thought among rival teams is that the Hornets are more likely to draft Brandon Miller than Scoot Henderson at No. 2, according to both Jeremy Woo of ESPN.com (subscription required) and Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Still, while Miller may be widely viewed as the favorite, it sounds like that intel is coming from outside the organization, with the Hornets not tipping their hand on their plans. According to Woo, not everyone around the league is convinced that Charlotte is zeroing in on Miller, especially since Henderson reportedly had a strong first workout with the team.

As draft day nears, it’s worth remembering that Jabari Smith – and not Paolo Banchero – was long considered by rival teams to be the pick at No. 1 in the weeks leading up to last year’s draft. We’ll see if the Hornets have a surprise in store for us this Thursday like Orlando did a year ago.

Here’s more on the 2023 NBA draft, which is just two days away:

  • The Rockets‘ No. 4 pick has been the subject of trade rumors this month, but opposing teams believe Houston will likely stand pat, writes Fischer. Overtime Elite guard Amen Thompson increasingly looks like the frontrunner to be selected at No. 4, according to both Fischer and Woo.
  • According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, sources in recent days have begun to discuss the possibility of Cam Whitmore sliding down the lottery due to poor workouts. Both O’Connor and ESPN have Whitmore at No. 9 in their latest mock drafts, though O’Connor admits that the latest rumors might be a smoke screen.
  • Sixers ownership has given president of basketball operations Daryl Morey the go-ahead to be aggressive as he attempts to trade into the 2023 draft, reports Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com. The team, which currently doesn’t have a pick in 2023, would like to acquire a second-rounder. The most likely scenario is Philadelphia simply buying a pick for cash, Neubeck says.
  • Marquette’s Olivier-Maxence Prosper, whose stock has been on the rise in recent weeks, received a Green Room invite for draft night, a source tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Prosper is the 22nd prospect to be invited to the Green Room (Twitter link).
  • In a pair of articles for The Athletic, David Aldridge spoke to several anonymous NBA coaches and executives to get their thoughts on this year’s top guard prospects and top forward prospects.

Draft Rumors: Lively, Miller, Henderson, Amen Thompson, Whitmore

Dereck Lively’s strong showing during the pre-draft process could make him a top-10 pick, according to Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. The Duke center was considered to be a mid-to-late first-rounder when he declared for the draft, but sources tell Wasserman that he has been impressing teams with his shooting touch during his pro day and workouts.

Lively didn’t have a large role in the Blue Devils’ offense, averaging just 5.2 points and 3.4 field goal attempts per game. However, teams have watched his videos from high school and believe he may have potential as a stretch four. That combined with his shot-blocking ability give him the profile of a modern NBA big man.

The Wizards at No. 8 are considered the highest potential draft spot for Lively, according to Wasserman, who hears that the Mavericks at 10, Magic at 11, Thunder at 12 and Pelicans at 14 are also interested.

There are more draft rumors to pass along, all from Wasserman:

  • Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson both have supporters in the Hornets‘ front office, sources tell Wasserman. Today’s planned workout and meeting with owner Michael Jordan could tip the scales on which player is selected at No. 2. Miller has been the presumed pick for several weeks, but Wasserman hasn’t been able to track down how that rumor began. Most scouts that he’s talked to see Henderson as the better player, but Charlotte has to consider who would fit best alongside LaMelo Ball.
  • The Rockets‘ choice at No. 4 appears to be coming down to Amen Thompson or Cam Whitmore. Sources tell Wasserman that the team likely views Thompson as the best player available, but its confidence in landing James Harden in free agency could influence whether it wants a play-maker like Thompson or a scorer like Whitmore. The Villanova forward has been impressive during pre-draft workouts and has made the decision more difficult for Houston’s front office, Wasserman adds. Sources tell him that Thompson is still considered the more likely choice because of his fit with Jalen Green.
  • Olivier-Maxence Prosper has raised his stock continuously since the draft combine and may go in the top 20, according to Wasserman’s sources. The Marquette guard has worked out for at least 16 teams, displaying defensive skills, a competitive attitude and shooting potential. Several lottery teams are interested, according to Wasserman, but they may consider trading down for him.
  • Arkansas’ Anthony Black is considered to be the most likely choice for the Wizards, and sources tell Wasserman that the Jazz are expected to take Black at No. 9 if Washington passes on him.
  • Michigan’s Kobe Bufkin appears to have reached lottery status, with rival teams seeing the Raptors as his floor at No. 13. Wasserman notes that Bufkin hasn’t taken part in many workouts, which could indicate that he has received a draft promise.
  • Wasserman identifies Lively, Bufkin, Indiana’s Jalen Hood-Schifino and France’s Bilal Coulibaly as players who have probably risen into the lottery, leaving Baylor’s Keyonte George and Arkansas’ Nick Smith Jr. as the most likely to slide into the 15-20 range.
  • Belmont’s Ben Sheppard may be a target for teams looking to trade up into the middle of the first round, Wasserman adds.
  • Wasserman hears that the Rockets aren’t expected to keep their pick at No. 20 and appear willing to trade it for a future first-rounder.
  • Once Kansas sharpshooter Gradey Dick is off the board, UConn’s Jordan Hawkins will be the next target for teams in need of shooting help, according to Wasserman, who states that the Magic might consider him at No. 11.

Draft Notes: K. Murray, Rankings, Prosper, Wolves, W. Green

Iowa forward Kris Murray, the twin brother of Keegan Murray, received an invite to the NBA draft’s Green Room next Thursday, a source tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). However, Murray has decided to turn down the invite, opting to watch the draft at home with his family rather than attending the event in person, per Givony.

Here’s more on the 2023 NBA draft:

  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic published his final pre-draft rankings this week, listing the top 100 players in the 2023 class and providing full scouting reports for the top 75. Vecenie’s 179-page PDF draft guide is incredibly in depth and is worth checking out for anyone with a subscription to The Athletic. The most notable deviation from the norm at the top of Vecenie’s draft board is his decision to rank Cam Whitmore at No. 3, one spot ahead of Brandon Miller.
  • Marquette forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper, the No. 29 player on ESPN’s big board and the No. 24 prospect in Vecenie’s rankings, tells Givony (Twitter link) that there’s “no reason” he shouldn’t be a first-round pick. “My game translates really well to the NBA,” Prosper said. “It’s a positionless league, and wings like me who can guard multiple positions, finish in transition and make threes find ways to make winning plays and impact games.”
  • The Timberwolves hosted a pre-draft workout on Friday that featured Damion Baugh (TCU) Marcellus Earlington (San Diego) Caleb McConnell (Rutgers) Mike Miles Jr. (TCU) Justyn Mutts (Virginia Tech), and Race Thompson (Indiana), according to the team (Twitter link). The Nets are among the other teams to have worked out Thompson, adds Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link).
  • Former Auburn guard Wendell Green worked out for the Rockets this week, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post.