Tony Carr

Pelicans Notes: Cousins, Rondo, Carr, Staff

DeMarcus Cousins is still recovering from a torn left Achilles he suffered in January, but the All-Star center, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, has been documenting certain aspects of his rehabilitation process on social media and appears to be fully embracing the challenge, reports William Guillory of The Times-Picayune.

According to Pelicans’ general manager Dell Demps, Cousins has been working out in Las Vegas and hasn’t experienced any setbacks during his recovery, with the big man’s desire to get back on the court as strong as ever.

“He’s right on schedule. He’s right where he’s supposed to be (and) he’s committed to getting back and ready to play.”

That being said, it remains to be seen whether the Pelicans will be able and/or willing to sign Cousins to a new contract this summer, with the Mavericks being one of many teams who will likely have interest in Cousins’ services going forward.

As Guillory notes, New Orleans was once poised to offer Cousins a five-year maximum-salary contract this summer. However, a story from ESPN’s Zach Lowe in April reported that the Pelicans were now considering the idea of offering Cousins a shorter deal at less than the max because of the uncertain future that often accompanies an Achilles injury.

Despite that report, Demps continues to reiterate that the team wants Cousins back in New Orleans, telling reporters that Cousins has been a big part of the Pelicans’ success and that he hopes the team is able to being Cousins back next season.

There’s more from New Orleans:

  • In the same article, Guillory also touches upon the upcoming free agency of point guard Rajon Rondo, who like Cousins, will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Pelicans are planning to enter into negotiations on a new deal with Rondo, per Demps, who notes that “in a perfect world,” both Cousins and Rondo would be back in New Orleans next season.
  • With their only selection in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Pelicans selected Penn State guard Tony Carr with the No. 51 overall pick. Carr, 20, averaged 19.6 points and five assists per game for the Nittany Lions last season, but his role for New Orleans next season is still up in the air. Per Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com, Demps has already expressed that Carr will need to compete for a roster spot as a rookie
  • In another story for The Times-Picayune, Guillory writes that the Pelicans are emphasizing stability with their coaching staff this offseason, with the front office recently denying a request from Toronto to hire away assistant coach Chris Finch.
  • Per Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated, the Pelicans’ front office scouting department has been retained with two-year extensions.

Draft Notes: Bulls, Bamba, Clippers, R. Williams

There are a number of signs that the Bulls may be focusing on Mohamed Bamba as a prime target in Thursday night’s draft, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. As Johnson details, the club has had “consistent contact” with Bamba throughout the pre-draft process, with team president Michael Reinsdorf among those who has talked to the young center.

According to Johnson, the Bulls have been intrigued by Bamba’s “game-changing defensive potential” from the start of the pre-draft process. However, there’s a sense around the NBA that Chicago may have to trade up if the club wants to be assured of landing Bamba.

As we wait to see if Bamba is indeed the player Chicago covets, let’s round up a few more draft-related rumors and news items…

  • Texas A&M big man Robert Williams visited the Clippers on Tuesday and had a conversation with owner Steve Ballmer, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Wojnarowski, who notes that the Clips have taken an extensive look at Williams, adds that the center won’t attend the draft, opting instead to watch it at home in Shreveport with friends and family.
  • Speaking of the Clippers, they’ve been rebuffed by the Kings (No. 2), Hawks (No. 3), Grizzlies (No. 4), and Mavericks (No. 5) in their efforts to move up in the draft, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. While the team will continue to explore ways to get it hands on Luka Doncic, L.A. is confident that it can get two talented players at 12 and 13.
  • Miami prospect Bruce Brown is squeezing in a second workout with the Celtics today ahead of Thursday’s draft, he tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link).
  • Aaron Holiday (UCLA), Ray Spalding (Louisville), Donte Ingram (Loyola-Chicago), and Jonathan Williams (VCU) worked out for the Knicks on Tuesday, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com, who adds (via Twitter) that the club also auditioned Penn State’s Tony Carr this week.

Draft Notes: Hornets, Grizzlies, Blazers, Lakers, Nuggets

Villanova’s Mikal Bridges had his conditioning tested during his first pre-draft workout today in Charlotte, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Bridges and St. Joseph’s James Demery were the only players at the hour-long session, which featured full-court sprints mixed with long-range shooting toward the end of the process.

“They pushed us,” Bridges said. “I’m really well conditioned and they [wanted to see me] shoot the ball while I’m tired. [It was about] showing them everything, like some ballhandling that they didn’t see” when he was in college.

Projected as a lottery pick, Bridges may still be available when the Hornets select at No. 11. However, Bonnell notes that the Cavaliers, Knicks and Sixers — the three teams directly in front of Charlotte — could all have interest.

There’s more draft-related news to pass along:

Draft Decisions: McDaniels, Cody & Caleb Martin

Forward Jalen McDaniels will return to San Diego State for his sophomore season, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN. McDaniels is part of a crop of late decision makers who waited until shortly before tonight’s deadline of 11:59pm Eastern to announce whether they are staying in the draft.

“After thoughtful consideration with my family and coaching staff, I have decided to return to San Diego State for my sophomore year.” McDaniels posted on Twitter“I’m looking forward to furthering my education and returning to the NCAA Tournament. Go Aztecs!”

McDaniels averaged 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in his first year at San Diego State. He held workouts with Cavaliers, ClippersTimberwolvesJazz, Warriors, CelticsNets, Hawks, Bucks, Spurs and Bulls, according to Mark Zeigler of The San Diego Union-Tribune.

In another significant last-minute decision, Nevada stars Cody Martin and Caleb Martin will both return to school, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. Cody is ranked 90th and Caleb is 91st in the list of top 100 prospects compiled by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, but Jeff Goodman of ESPN suggests the Wolf Pack could be a top 10 team next season with both staying (Twitter link).

There’s also news to pass along on pre-draft workouts:

Draft Workouts: Jazz, Warriors, Knicks, Suns

The Jazz worked out Shake Milton (SMU), Angel Delgado (Seton Hall), Theo Pinson (North Carolina), Omari Spellman (Villanova), Thomas Wilder (Western Michigan) and Elijah Stewart (USC) on Monday, according to team’s Twitter feed. Milton, a borderline first-round guard prospect ranked No. 34 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, headlined that group.

The Jazz will host six more prospects on Tuesday — Kameron Chatman (Detroit), Sedrick Barefield (Utah), Kenneth Ogbe (Utah Valley), Dayon Goodman (Westminster), Tyler Rawson (Utah) and Ryan Richardson (Weber State) (Twitter links).

We have more draft workout news:

  • Wichita State’s Landry Shamet worked out for the Warriors on Sunday, Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com tweets. The point guard is ranked No. 42 by Givony.
  • Syracuse swingman Tyus Battle, rated No. 32 by Givony, worked out for the Knicks on Friday, Zagoria reports in another tweet. Small forward Brian Bowen, who was ineligible to play college ball last season, worked out for New York the same day and the Lakers on Sunday.
  • The Suns brought in UCLA’s Aaron Holiday and Anfernee Simons, who spent a post-grad year at IMG Academy, and four other prospects on Monday, the team tweets. Holiday is rated No. 17 by Givony while Simons is ranked No. 21. Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky), Tony Carr (Penn State), Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Kansas) and Bruce Brown (Miami, Fla.) joined them.

East Draft Notes: Hawks, Wizards, Raptors, Nets

UCLA point guard Aaron Holiday and Villanova floor leader Jalen Brunson headline the list of six players the Hawks will work out on Friday, according to a team press release. Holiday is ranked No. 17 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, while Brunson is rated No. 26 overall.

Gary Clark (Cincinnati), Rawle Alkins (Arizona), Juwan Morgan (Indiana) and Tony Carr (Penn State) are the other players trying to make a favorable impression. The Hawks hosted Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova), Ben Lammers (Georgia Tech), Jalen McDaniels (San Diego State), Markis McDuffie (Wichita State), Doral Moore (Wake Forest) and Brandon Sampson (LSU) on Thursday.

In other draft workouts by Eastern Conference clubs:

East Draft Notes: Wizards, Raptors, Bulls, Magic, Nets

UCLA point guard Aaron Holiday heads the list of six players the Wizards will work out on Wednesday, according to the team’s website. Holiday is ranked No. 17 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. He will be joined by two Kansas guards, Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, along with forwards Johnathan Williams (Gonzaga), Moritz Wagner (Michigan) and Zach Thomas (Bucknell).

In other draft news regarding Eastern Conference teams:

Draft Rumors: Pistons, Suns, Doncic, Z. Smith

The Pistons‘ meetings at this week’s draft combine have included an interesting twist, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com, who writes that the prospects interviewed by Detroit talked about being outfitted with a virtual reality headset.

“They didn’t really ask any tricky questions,” Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham said of his meeting with the Pistons. “They did a virtual reality where I was like in the headphones and goggles and I was making plays – see if you made the right reads and stuff like that. It was cool.”

Penn State’s Tony Carr had a similar account of his interview with the Pistons: “They definitely did some interesting virtual-reality testing things just to kind of figure out your decision making and things like that (with) the 3-D glasses. It was pretty cool. I actually watched my little brother play with them but I’ve never used them myself.”

According to Langlois, the list of prospects who have met – or will meet – with the Pistons at the combine also included Tyus Battle (Syracuse), Shake Milton (SMU), Rawle Alkins (Arizona), Brian Bowen (South Carolina), Jevon Carter (West Virginia), and Trevon Duval (Duke). In a tweet, Langlois adds Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo to that list as well.

Here are a few more draft notes and rumors:

  • Sources familiar with the Suns‘ thinking tell Sean Deveney of The Sporting News that new head coach Igor Kokoskov likely won’t be too involved with the team’s decision on the No. 1 pick. Kokoskov may have some input, but the Suns don’t want to put him in a tough position by creating the impression that he lobbied for or against Luka Doncic, who has played for Kokoskov on the Serbian national team.
  • Speaking of Doncic, agent Bill Duffy tells Deveney that “Luka has stated no particular thought on any NBA teams.” The comment is certainly intended a response to those who interpreted Doncic’s lack of commitment to the NBA as a signal that he doesn’t want to play for the Kings or another team that might use a high pick on him.
  • Deveney has another draft-related tidbit for us, writing in a separate article that no player has been drawing more interest this week from “late-lottery” executives than Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith. In Jonathan Givony’s latest mock draft at ESPN.com, Smith comes off the board at No. 16, but he could end up sneaking into the back end of the lottery, as Deveney details.
  • According to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter link), the Pelicans, Hawks, Cavaliers, Kings, Thunder, Grizzlies, Jazz, Spurs, Sixers, Nets, and Timberwolves have reached out to express interest in IMG Academy prospect Anfernee Simons.

Draft Updates: Carr, Mitchell, Reed, Taylor, Rose

Penn State guard Tony Carr announced today that he has decided to enter the 2018 NBA draft and will hire an agent, forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility, as Tyler King of The Daily Collegian details.

Carr, a 6’5″ point guard, posted big numbers for the Nittany Lions in his sophomore year, averaging 19.6 PPG, 5.0 APG, and 4.9 RPG with a .408/.433/.799 shooting line. He also helped lead Penn State to the NIT title last week.

Ranked 44th on Jonathan Givony’s big board at ESPN.com, Carr is viewed as a possible first-round pick by some draft experts, but at this point he seems more likely to be picked in the second round or even to go undrafted.

Here are more draft-related notes from around the basketball world:

  • Clemson guards Shelton Mitchell and Marcquise Reed are declaring for the 2018 NBA draft without hiring representation, per a press release (Twitter link via Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports). Both Mitchell and Reed just finished their junior seasons for the Tigers, with Mitchell posting 12.2 PPG and 3.6 APG, while Reed contributed 15.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 3.3 APG.
  • Cornell junior guard Matt Morgan is testing the draft waters without hiring an agent, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN. The Ivy League’s leading scorer, Morgan averaged 22.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 3.2 APG in 2017/18. He tested the draft waters last spring, but ultimately returned to school.
  • Temple sophomore guard Quinton Rose is declaring for the 2018 draft, but won’t hire an agent yet, reports ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. “I’m confident in my abilities going forward and think that I have a good chance of being drafted,” Rose told Givony. “In order to stay in I would have to move into projected mid-first round.” In other words, Rose is a good bet to return to Temple for his junior year.
  • Fresno State guard Deshon Taylor is testing the 2018 NBA draft waters without an agent, he announced (via Twitter). Taylor enjoyed a big junior year for the Bulldogs, averaging 17.8 PPG on .439/.386/.833 shooting.