Precious Achiuwa

Heat Sign Precious Achiuwa To Rookie Deal

The Heat have officially signed first-round pick Precious Achiuwa to his rookie contract, tweeting out a photo today that shows the rookie forward putting pen to paper.

The No. 20 overall pick in last Wednesday’s draft, Achiuwa signed for 120% of his rookie scale figure, the maximum possible amount permitted by the league, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). That’ll result in a $2.58MM first-year salary with an overall value of $12.51MM on his four-year contract.

[RELATED: Rookie Scale Salaries For 2020 NBA First-Round Picks]

In his first and only college season at Memphis, Achiuwa was one of the nation’s most impressive freshmen, averaging 15.8 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 1.9 BPG while shooting 49.3% from the floor in 31 games (30.4 MPG). He was named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year.

We’re tracking all of this year’s draft pick signings right here.

Draft Rumors: Hornets, Ball, Wolves, Cavs, Achiuwa, Hawks, More

Assuming the Hornets keep the No. 3 pick in tonight’s NBA draft, team owner Michael Jordan has given the “stamp of approval” to select LaMelo Ball, league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. James Wiseman has long been considered to be atop Charlotte’s wish list, but if he and Anthony Edwards are the first two players off the board, Ball may be the top prospect available.

O’Connor suggests that “at this stage” it seems as if USC big man Onyeka Okongwu is no longer in serious consideration for the Hornets at No. 3. It’s worth noting that ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his Hoop Collective podcast that there has been some medical-related chatter on Okongwu recently that could affect his stock, though Windhorst cautioned that may just be a smokescreen from a team with interest in him.

Here are several more rumors worth passing along, as we prepare for what should be an eventful 2020 NBA draft:

  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) is hearing that the Timberwolves continue to operate as if they don’t want to pick at No. 1. Sources tell Wasserman that Minnesota is even signaling it could make a pick for another team – such as Wiseman for the Hornets – and try to figure out a deal later.
  • According to O’Connor, the Cavaliers are interested in potentially trading down a little and still selecting Dayton forward Obi Toppin, who has been linked to them frequently as a potential target at No. 5. O’Connor suggests the Pistons (No. 7) could be one potential trade partner for the Cavs if Detroit wants to move up to secure Florida State’s Patrick Williams.
  • Sources tell both O’Connor and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic that the Wizards (No. 9) are high on Memphis power forward Precious Achiuwa. Krawczynski says the Suns (No. 10) are “fond of” Achiuwa as well.
  • Conversations between the Hawks and Timberwolves about a swap that would send the No. 6 pick to Minnesota for No. 17 and Jarrett Culver have stalled, per Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Atlanta would be open to the idea, but the Wolves have become hesitant about moving Culver unless it helps them land a star, according to Kirschner and Krawczynski. Kirschner adds that talks between the Hawks and teams looking to move up in the draft have “cooled down” as of late.
  • While the Celtics have explored packaging their three first-round picks (Nos. 14, 26, and 30) to move into the mid-lottery, teams in that range have indicated they’d like to stay there, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

Heat Notes: Leonard, Carey, Achiuwa, Scrubb

Reiterating a point he made in a previous interview, Heat center Meyers Leonard told Jeremy Werner of 247Sports.com that when he considers his options in free agency, he’ll be looking for a spot where he can contend, rather than one where he can try to put up big numbers.

“I don’t give a damn about numbers. I care about winning,” Leonard said. “I think that they knew that in Miami. I know that (coach Erik Spoelstra) and my teammates sure as hell did. I would tell Bam (Adebayo) often, ‘I don’t give a damn about rebound numbers. You go grab 15, and I’ll block out their best rebounder and you come grab them.'”

Leonard also said that he thinks a reunion is a possibility, but that he’s prepared to consider other landing spots if the Heat decide to move on.

“The NBA is a business. I think there’s mutual interest between Miami and I, but we’ll see,” he said. “There’s other teams that are very interested. I’m in a good spot.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • The Heat conducted a private, in-person workout last week with Duke big man Vernon Carey Jr., according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). Carey is only the No. 43 prospect on ESPN’s big board but has received some first-round buzz and could be an option for Miami at No. 20.
  • Carey is far from the only draft-eligible frontcourt player receiving interest from the Heat. The team also recently worked out Memphis’ Precious Achiuwa and has interest in Maryland’s Jalen Smith, Jackson writes for The Herald. ESPN ranks both players in its top 20.
  • The Heat have conducted two interviews with 6’6″ shooting guard Jay Scrubb, a source tells Jackson. The No. 76 prospect on ESPN’s board, Scrubb is considered one of 2020’s best junior college prospects. Within the same Herald article, Jackson notes that Miami has also interviewed Stanford guard Tyrell Terry.

Draft Rumors: Warriors, Vassell, Suns, Spurs, Mavs, More

The Warriors continue to actively discuss trades involving the No. 2 pick, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link), who writes within his latest mock draft that the Bulls, Pistons, and Knicks are among the candidates to make a deal with Golden State.

If the Warriors remain at No. 2, the team seems more likely to select Memphis center James Wiseman than Georgia guard Anthony Edwards, per Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Wasserman has heard that there are some voices in Golden State’s front office against drafting Edwards, as well as mixed opinions within the front office on LaMelo Ball.

As Wasserman details, the Warriors have also expressed “legitimate” interest in sharpshooting wing Devin Vassell, but the assumption is that the club wouldn’t take the Florida State prospect at No. 2 — he’d be an option in a trade-down scenario. Wasserman adds that Vassell’s camp is confident he’ll go in the middle of the lottery and is unlikely to slip past the Kings at No. 12.

Here are a few more draft-related updates and rumors:

  • According to Givony, the Suns (No. 10) are “looking heavily” at point guards and wing players, especially prospects who can complement Devin Booker, while the Spurs (No. 11) are eyeing both big men and wings in the hopes of bolstering their frontcourt.
  • The Mavericks have expressed some interest in trading up into the lottery, league sources tell Jeremy Woo of SI.com. Dallas currently holds the 18th and 31st overall picks.
  • Teams with picks in the 20s aren’t expecting Precious Achiuwa to be available, according to Wasserman, who says the Memphis forward will likely be picked in the 9-18 range.
  • Multiple teams believe Arizona shooting guard Josh Green could slip a little, with some clubs viewing him as a “fringe first-rounder,” writes Wasserman.
  • Jaden McDaniels, Tyrell Terry, Daniel Oturu, Tyrese Maxey, and RJ Hampton are among the first-round candidates with the widest projected draft ranges, per Wasserman.

Draft Notes: Mouaha, Ebeling, Achiuwa, Knicks

The NCAA’s withdrawal deadline for the 2020 NBA draft has long since passed, but the NBA’s own deadline falls 10 days before the draft. That means that a number of international prospects – for whom the NCAA deadline didn’t apply – face final decisions on whether or not to keep their names in this year’s draft pool.

Cameroonian guard Aristide Mouaha and Italian forward Michele Ebeling are two international early entrants who have decided to pull out of the draft, according to a pair of reports from Nicola Lupo of Sportando. Both prospects are currently playing in Italy. Ebeling will become automatically draft-eligible in 2021, while Mouaha is on track to be draft-eligible in 2022 if he doesn’t re-enter his name next year.

As our tracker shows, we still have 34 international prospects listed as early entrants for 2020. It’s safe to assume that many more will withdraw before the November 8 deadline — I’d expect that list to be cut at least in half within the next couple days.

Here’s more on the 2020 NBA draft:

  • Former Memphis big man Precious Achiuwa worked out for the Wizards earlier this week and is working out for the Celtics on Friday, according to Adam Zagoria of Forbes (Twitter link). Achiuwa is the 12th overall prospect on ESPN’s big board, so both Washington at No. 9 and Boston at No. 14 could in play for him.
  • In a pair of Insider articles for ESPN.com, Jonathan Givony, Mike Schmitz, and Kevin Pelton discuss the best wings and big men of this year’s draft class. All three experts rate Deni Avdija as the top wing in the draft, with Givony and Schmitz placing Isaac Okoro second while Pelton takes Devin Vassell. In a bit of a surprise, both Givony and Schmitz pick Onyeka Okongwu over James Wiseman as the top big man prospect.
  • While the Knicks’ No. 8 pick has been the main focus, the team is working diligently on its options at No. 27 and 38 and is hoping to find a “diamond in the rough,” a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. Berman examines former Arizona shooting guard Josh Green and Duke center Vernon Carey Jr. as a couple potential late-first-round options for New York, citing one talent evaluator who says Green would be a “perfect fit” for the team.

Kings Notes: Bogdanovic, Lewis, Trade Proposals, Achiuwa

Deciding whether to keep Bogdan Bogdanovic will be one of the most important offseason decisions for new Kings general manager Monte McNair, writes James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. The shooting guard is a restricted free agent, meaning Sacramento can match any offer he receives on the open market. ESPN’s Bobby Marks estimates that Bogdanovic’s new contract will start at $14-16MM, which translates to a total investment of $63-72MM on a four-year deal.

Bogdanovic is coming off his most productive season, averaging 15.1 points per game and shooting 37.2% from three-point range. The Kings don’t want to lose an important part of their offense, but they have to be careful about overpaying with so many other young players whose contracts will be up soon. De’Aaron Fox is likely to receive an extension this fall that will take effect during the 2021/22 season.

Ham suggests offering Bogdanovic a front-loaded contract that declines in value each year, as the team did with Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield. That would help control costs in the future and make Bogdanovic easier to move if the Kings ever decide to trade him.

There’s more from Sacramento:

  • With the Kings reportedly interested in drafting Kira Lewis Jr., Ham examines the potential fit for the Alabama point guard. His speed blends well with the up-tempo style that Sacramento prefers, and Lewis could allow the team to play fast when Fox is on the bench. Ham states that Lewis projects as an instant-offense player off the bench.
  • Richard Ivanowski of The Sacramento Bee offers six hypothetical trades for the Kings to pursue if McNair wants to shake up the roster before the draft. Ivanowski suggests Sacramento should chase a star such as Washington’s Bradley Beal with a package of Hield, Marvin Bagley and the No. 12 pick, or possibly try to get the No. 1 selection and James Johnson from the Timberwolves in exchange for Hield and No. 12. Ivanowski also has trade proposals involving the Hawks, Bucks, Celtics and Sixers.
  • Jason Jones of The Athletic believes the Kings might use their first-round pick to add frontcourt depth and identifies Precious Achiuwa of Memphis as a potential selection. Jalen Smith of Maryland may also be under consideration.

Knicks Rumors: Westbrook, Draft, Okoro, Vassell

While Chris Paul‘s name has been connected most frequently to the Knicks in recent months, it’s worth keeping an eye on Russell Westbrook as well, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Begley reports that some agents who represent top free agent point guards think the Knicks will “poke around” on a possible Westbrook trade if the Rockets make him available.

It’s certainly not a sure thing that Houston considers moving Westbrook this offseason. And even in that scenario, “poking around” doesn’t mean that the Knicks would make a deal.

Still, the Knicks are well-positioned to take on a big contract like Westbrook’s, which has three years and more than $132MM left on it. Begley also cites sources who say that Westbrook viewed New York as a favorable landing spot when the Thunder were shopping him last July. So if the Rockets do mull a potential trade at some point, it’s a safe bet the Knicks will be linked to the star point guard.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

Draft Notes: Achiuwa, Jones, Hampton, Terry

Potential top-10 selection Precious Achiuwa has interviewed with a number of lottery teams, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype tweets. Achiuwa, a power forward who averaged 15.8 PPG and 10.8 MPG as a Memphis freshman last season, has talked to the Kings, Wizards, Knicks, Nets, Cavaliers, Suns, Spurs, Pistons and Thunder, among others. He’s currently listed at No. 10 overall on ESPN’s list of this year’s top 100 prospects.

We have more on the draft:

  • Duke point guard Tre Jones has spoken with the Bucks, Suns, Thunder and Timberwolves, among others, according to Kennedy (Twitter link). Jones had an interview lined up with the Bulls, but it was postponed due to their coaching change. Jones anticipates he’ll be a mid- to late-first round pick. He’s currently listed at No. 34 overall by ESPN.
  • Combo guard RJ Hampton, who played last season in Australia’s NBL, has talked to the Wizards, Kings, Thunder, Pistons, Suns, Trail Blazers, Knicks and Bulls, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington tweets. He posted modest stats in 15 NBL games before suffering a hip flexor injury and returning the U.S. Hampton is currently ranked No. 13 by ESPN and Hughes speculates he could be a late lottery steal like Michael Porter Jr., who sat out for a year after getting drafted by the Nuggets.
  • Stanford point guard Tyrell Terry has interviewed with the Suns, Thunder, 76ers, Raptors, Knicks, Nets, WarriorsTimberwolves and Bulls, Kennedy tweets. He’s pegged at No. 42 in ESPN’s rankings. He averaged 14.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 3.2 APG as a freshman.

Central Notes: Markkanen, Achiuwa, Doumbouya, Kennard

Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen, who is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, is optimistic he’ll take major steps forward under new coach Billy Donovan, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Markkanen has already spoken with Donovan about how he’ll be more involved offensively next season. “It’s really important,” Markkanen said of next season. “I’ve got show people that I can come back from the down year I had. It didn’t put me down at all.” Markkanen’s 14.7 PPG and 6.3 RPG in his third year were lower than the numbers he put up in his first two seasons.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers have already talked remotely to Memphis’ Precious Achiuwa and Stanford’s Tyrell Terry, two of the players who will take part in the virtual combine on Tuesday, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com tweets. Achiuwa, a power forward, is ranked No. 10 overall by ESPN while Terry, a point guard, is rated as a second-round prospect at No. 42.
  • Pistons coach Dwane Casey is encouraged by what he’s seen from forward Sekou Doumbouya in group workouts, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Doumbouya was the team’s first-round pick last year and appeared in 38 games, including 19 starts. “Sekou has had a good week,” Casey said. “His seriousness of his approach has really improved. His body is in excellent condition. He’s one of the bright spots.”
  • Pistons swingman Luke Kennard has been getting reps at point guard during those same workouts, Langlois notes in a separate story. Kennard, who missed the bulk of the season with knee injuries, is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason. “It’s a really big year for me, a really big year for the team,” Kennard said. “I’m one of the older guys and I’ve got to help lead the team this year.”

LaMelo Ball Headlines List Of Draft Combine Participants

Potential No. 1 overall pick LaMelo Ball will be among the prospects participating in the revamped virtual draft combine this week, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Ball is scheduled to take part in team interviews and a media session this week, but may not participate in any other portion, Jeremy Woo of SI.com cautions (via Twitter).

While Ball’s participation might be limited, many of this year’s other top prospects aren’t taking part in the event at all. As Woo points out (via Twitter), Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu, Cole Anthony, Aaron Nesmith, Devin Vassell, and Saddiq Bey are among the players who don’t appear on the list of participants sent out by the NBA.

The list of top prospects besides Ball who will be participating in the event includes Precious Achiuwa, Deni Avdija, Tyrese Haliburton, RJ Hampton, Killian Hayes, Theo Maledon, and Isaac Okoro, among others.

Here’s the full list of combine participants, via Charania:

  1. Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis
  2. Ty-Shon Alexander, G, Creighton
  3. Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
  4. Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
  5. LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks (Australia)
  6. Desmond Bane, G, TCU
  7. Tyler Bey, F, Colorado
  8. Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
  9. Yoeli Childs, F, BYU
  10. Mamadi Diakite, F, Virginia
  11. Devon Dotson, G, Kansas
  12. Paul Eboua, F, VL Pesaro (Italy)
  13. CJ Elleby, F, Washington State
  14. Malachi Flynn, G, San Diego State
  15. Trent Forrest, G, Florida State
  16. Josh Green, G/F, Arizona
  17. Ashton Hagans, G, Kentucky
  18. Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
  19. Josh Hall, F, Moravian Prep
  20. RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers (New Zealand)
  21. Jalen Harris, G, Nevada
  22. Killian Hayes, G, Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany)
  23. Markus Howard, G, Marquette
  24. Elijah Hughes, G/F, Syracuse
  25. Isaiah Joe, G, Arkansas
  26. Mason Jones, G, Arkansas
  27. Tre Jones, G, Duke
  28. Nathan Knight, F/C, William & Mary
  29. Kira Lewis, G, Alabama
  30. Theo Maledon, G, ASVEL (France)
  31. Karim Mane, G, Vanier College (Canada)
  32. Nico Mannion, G, Arizona
  33. Naji Marshall, F, Xavier
  34. Kenyon Martin Jr., F, IMG Academy
  35. Skylar Mays, G, LSU
  36. Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
  37. Sam Merrill, G, Utah State
  38. Zeke Nnaji, F, Arizona
  39. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville
  40. Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
  41. Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
  42. Reggie Perry, F, Mississippi State
  43. Myles Powell, G, Seton Hall
  44. Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon
  45. Immanuel Quickley, G, Kentucky
  46. Jahmi’us Ramsey, G, Texas Tech
  47. Paul Reed, F, DePaul
  48. Nick Richards, F/C, Kentucky
  49. Grant Riller, G, Charleston
  50. Jay Scrubb, G, John A. Logan College
  51. Jalen Smith, F, Maryland
  52. Cassius Stanley, G, Duke
  53. Lamar Stevens, F, Penn State
  54. Isaiah Stewart, F/C, Washington
  55. Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford
  56. Xavier Tillman, F/C, Michigan State
  57. Kaleb Wesson, F/C, Ohio State
  58. Kahlil Whitney, F, Kentucky
  59. Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State
  60. Robert Woodard II, F, Mississippi State

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is unable to hold its typical in-person draft combine this year, but the league has put together an alternative combine that will feature interviews through videoconferencing as well as the making of “pro day” videos, which will include strength and agility testing, anthropometric measurements, and shooting drills. Participants will also undergo medical testing and exams.

For more details on this year’s combine, be sure to check out our full story on the changes.