Ronshad Shabazz

Draft Workouts: Raptors, Lamb, Sixers, Hawks

The Raptors will bring in six players in their first pre-draft workout on Tuesday, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets. They’ll take a look at center/power forward Josh Sharma (Stanford) and Tanor Ngom (Ryerson in Canada), forward Tres Tinkle (Oregon State), swingmen Jordan Davis (Northern Colorado) and DaQuan Jeffries (Tulsa) and point guard Daishon Smith (Louisiana-Monroe).

We have more draft info:

Southeast Notes: Kemba, Beal, Heat, Hawks

Kemba Walker‘s free agency will be a fascinating situation to watch this offseason, since it’s hard to determine what the best-case scenario is for the Hornets, writes Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report. Re-signing Walker to a maximum salary contract would limit Charlotte’s ability to acquire help around him, but one scout thinks the Hornets would “be like an expansion team” without him, per Weitzman.

Complicating matters further? Walker will become eligible for a super-max contract, worth an extra $30MM+ over five years, if he earns a spot on this year’s All-NBA teams, which is a distinct possibility. Only the Hornets could offer him that super-max, but doing so would mean paying the point guard an average of $44MM annually through 2023/24.

“It’d be like the John Wall deal,” one front office source told Weitzman. “They should have traded him last year, when his value was high. They could have just reset.”

With lucrative deals for Bismack Biyombo, Marvin Williams, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist all set to come off the Hornets’ books in 2020, the team wouldn’t necessarily be mired in salary-cap hell for years if it re-signs Walker. Still, there’d be no obvious way to add a capable No. 2 option behind the point guard anytime soon.

“The surrounding pieces aren’t so bad,” another front office source said to Weitzman. “They just need another guy in there so they can all slide down a role.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

Draft Notes: Bowen, Vital, Shabazz, Ona Embo

After being linked to a scandal at Louisville, 6’7″ wing Brian Bowen II transferred to South Carolina, but has still not been cleared by the NCAA or played in a single college game. As Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes, it has been a frustrating journey for Bowen, who calls it “the biggest thing I’ve ever been through in my life.”

The NCAA’s deadline for early entrants to withdraw from the NBA draft and retain their college eligibility is May 30, meaning Bowen only has about another week to make up his mind. As of now, the NCAA has offered little clarity on whether or not he can expect to be cleared for the 2018/19 season, complicating his decision. Still, as Reynolds details, Bowen is trying to stay positive.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Bowen said. “Somebody’s situation is always going to be worse than mine. Other people in my family have worse situations than I have. I just have to learn, use it as a learning experience, use it as motivation and have a chip on my shoulder.”

Here’s more on the 2018 NBA draft:

  • UConn guard Christian Vital has officially withdrawn his name from the 2018 draft pool, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Vital, who averaged 14.9 PPG and 5.4 RPG in his sophomore year with the Huskies, had announced his decision with a tweet that suggested he has “unfinished business” at UConn.
  • Appalachian State junior guard Ronshad Shabazz confirmed to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (Twitter link) that he’ll be removing his name from the 2018 NBA draft. Shabazz, who wasn’t considered likely to be drafted, was facing a May 30 deadline for his decision to withdraw.
  • Tulane guard Ray Ona Embo, who had been testing the draft waters without an agent, is expected to head back to school for his junior season, tweets Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports. Embo averaged 10.1 PPG, 3.3 APG, and 3.2 RPG with a .432/.365/.719 shooting line in 2017/18.
  • Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post rounds up several of his observations from last week’s draft combine, writing that Kevin Huerter (Maryland), Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova), and Grayson Allen (Duke) were among the big winners in Chicago.

236 Early Entrants Declare For 2018 NBA Draft

The NBA has released the official list of early entrants for the 2018 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 236 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 181 are from colleges, while 55 are international early entrants.

That number blows away the previous record for early entrants, established in 2017. Last year, 182 early entrants declared for the draft, though ultimately only 73 of those prospects remained in the draft by the final deadline.

This year’s total of 236 early entrants also figures to shrink significantly by May 30 and again by June 11, the two key deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool. But it still looks like that pool will remain crowded, with the eventual number of early entrants likely exceeding 60, the number of picks in the draft.

Our list of early entrants is now up to date and can be found right here. Here are today’s updates:

College underclassmen:

The following players were listed on the NBA’s official breakdown today, but weren’t yet noted on our own list. For now, we’re assuming they haven’t yet hired agents.

The following players reportedly declared for the draft or planned to, but weren’t named in the NBA’s official announcement today. As such, we’ve removed them from our list.

International players:

The following players were listed on the NBA’s official breakdown today, but weren’t yet noted on our list.

  • Berke Atar, C, Turkey (born 1999)
  • Laurynas Beliauskas, G, Lithuania (born 1997)
  • Rihards Berzins, F/C, Latvia (born 1997)
  • Etienne Ca, F, France (born 1997)
  • Sigfredo Casero-Ortiz, G, France (born 1997)
  • Berkan Durmaz, F, Turkey (born 1997)
  • Aleksander Dziewa, C, Poland (born 1997)
  • Stephane Gombauld, F, France (born 1997)
  • Yoan Granvorka, F, Switzerland (born 1997)
  • Michal Kolenda, F, Poland (born 1997)
  • Antonios Koniaris, G, Greece (born 1997)
  • Leon Kratzer, C, Germany (born 1997)
  • Shekinah Munanga, F, France (born 1997)
  • Williams Narace, F, France (born 1997)
  • Marcel Ponitka, G, Poland (born 1997)
  • Leonardo Tote, F, Italy (born 1997)
  • Martynas Varnas, G, Lithuania (born 1997)
  • Filip Zagrajski, G, Croatia (born 1997)