Tyrese Haliburton

Kings Notes: Hield, Bogdanovic, Cap Flexibility, Metu

By the end of the 2019/20 season, it appeared that Buddy Hield‘s days in Sacramento might be numbered. He had bristled at being removed from the starting lineup last winter and the Kings appeared committed to investing in Bogdan Bogdanovic, the man who had replaced Hield as the club’s starting shooting guard.

However, Sacramento let Bogdanovic walk in free agency and Hield remains on the roster. Addressing the situation in a conference call with reporters this week, general manager Monte McNair expressed a belief that Hield can still be – and is – a part of the Kings’ long-term plans.

“I’ve talked with Buddy, as well as his agent, I think we’re all on the same page,” McNair said, per James Ham of NBC Sports California. “I think we’re really excited to see Buddy kind of let free in this system. I think he’s going to be fantastic.”

The Kings are aiming to increase their tempo on offense this season. As Ham notes, that would seem to be a good fit for Hield’s outside shooting ability.

“‘Buddy is such an incredible talent, especially his shooting is at an elite level,” McNair said. “(That) is something we saw this offseason was at a premium. I think we’re really excited to see him in this system.”

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Asked during his media availability this week about the Kings’ decision not to match Bogdanovic’s offer sheet, McNair provided many of the same reasons that were reported at the time of the move. As Ham writes for NBC Sports California, the Kings’ GM said the team wants to “maintain as much (salary cap) flexibility as we can” and cited the presence of Hield and Tyrese Haliburton as the backcourt as factors in the decision to let Bogdanovic go.
  • Using McNair’s comments as a jumping-off point, Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee explores how not having Bogdanovic’s contract on their books will affect the Kings’ projected cap room in 2021 and beyond.
  • The Kings used part of their mid-level exception to sign free agent forward Chimezie Metu to a three-year, minimum-salary contract, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Metu only has a $50K partial guarantee for now, though that would increase to $250K if he makes the opening night roster, Smith adds.

Kings Sign Lottery Pick Haliburton

The Kings have signed their lottery pick, guard Tyrese Haliburton, according to a team press release.

Haliburton was the 12th overall pick in the draft. Assuming he received 120% of the rookie scale for his draft slot, as virtually all first-rounders do, Haliburton will make $17,878,995 over the next four seasons. His first-year salary will be $3,831,840.

Haliburton was one of the top point guards in the draft, though he could often play in two-point looks with the Kings. As a sophomore at Iowa State, he averaged 15.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 6.5 APG and 2.5 SPG and 36.7 MPG in 22 games before a wrist injury ended his season.

“We are thrilled to have drafted Tyrese and excited to welcome him to the Kings family,” GM Monte McNair said. “He is an incredibly talented athlete whose shooting, creative passing and ball handling skills combined with his ability to defend either guard position will be a valuable addition to our backcourt. Tyrese also has an engaging personality and is just the type of high character individual who fits the future of what we are building in Sacramento.”

Southwest Notes: Adams, Cousins, Wood, Haliburton, Covington

The Thunder are trading center Steven Adams to the Pelicans and it isn’t the first time New Orleans tried to make that happen, ESPN’s Royce Young tweets. The Pelicans pursued an Adams trade last offseason when the Thunder shook up their roster by trading Paul George and Russell Westbrook but the teams couldn’t work out an agreement at that time.

We have more news from the Southwest Division:

  • A workout on Monday convinced the Rockets to sign DeMarcus Cousins, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Cousins’ workout squelched any concerns about Cousins’ health, Haynes adds. Cousins agreed to a non-guaranteed one-year deal.
  • The acquisition of Christian Wood should have a major impact on the retooled Rockets, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Wood, who’s headed to Houston on a sign-and-trade, should provide elite production in pick-and-rolls with two star play-makers setting him up. Wood’s perimeter shooting will facilitate the Rockets’ small lineups by provide spacing for Westbrook with his ability to attack closeouts off the dribble and finish, Feigen adds.
  • The Mavericks tried to trade up in the draft to land guard Tyrese Haliburton, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe (hat tip to RealGM). Dallas attempted to trade multiple picks to lottery teams in the 7-11 range to make that move. Haliburton was ultimately selected at No. 12 by the Kings. The Mavs also tried to work out a deal with the Rockets for small forward Robert Covington, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, but Houston instead chose to deal him to the Trail Blazers.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, KCP, Haliburton, Suns, Warriors

After crunching the numbers, ESPN’s Bobby Marks says (via Twitter) the most the Lakers can offer free agent wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for 2020/21 is about $12MM. That would give the team just enough money to fill out the roster with players on minimum-salary contracts and remain under the hard cap of $138.93MM.

The Lakers’ other free agent options are somewhat limited now that they’ve committed their full mid-level exception to Montrezl Harrell and their bi-annual exception to Wesley Matthews. However, a sign-and-trade remains an option for Los Angeles – since the team already hard-capped – if enough salary can be sent out.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • After ESPN’s Jonathan Givony suggested on Zach Lowe’s Lowe Post podcast that Tyrese Haliburton‘s camp may have had a hand in orchestrating his draft-day slide to the Kings at No. 12, Haliburton was asked about that possibility and neither confirmed nor denied it, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “I don’t know about all the behind-the-scenes stuff that really goes on,” Haliburton said. “But I do know that Sacramento was a perfect place for me and somewhere that we really looked at and thought it would be a perfect fit, somewhere where we felt I would have an opportunity right away.”
  • Suns officials confirmed to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic that the organization is enacting furloughs on some employees and pay cuts for many others. Sources tell Rankin that more than 30 employees have been furloughed due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, while remaining employees within all departments are taking 20% pay cuts.
  • In a pair of articles for The Athletic, Anthony Slater examined what’s next for the Warriors in the wake of Klay Thompson‘s second consecutive season-ending injury and explored how James Wiseman can help the team right away.
  • The Clippers will have a new advertisement patch on their jersey for 2020/21, announcing in a press release that they’ve reached a deal with L.A.-based technology company Honey.

Cavs Discussing No. 5 Pick With Knicks, Others

The Cavaliers are receiving interest in the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who reports that the Pistons (No. 7), Knicks (No. 8), and Celtics (No. 14) are among the teams that have engaged in discussions with Cleveland.

The Knicks just moved up from No. 27 to No. 23 in a trade with Utah and may try to package that pick with No. 8 in an attempt to improve their lottery pick, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Knicks and Cavs have been the two teams in the top eight most frequently connected to Dayton forward Obi Toppin, so it’s possible he could be the target on New York’s radar in a move up, though that’s not confirmed.

The Pistons, meanwhile, have been linked often to Florida State’s Patrick Williams. If he’s still on the board at No. 5, Detroit may have interest in moving up to land him — or to leapfrog Atlanta at No. 6 for Tyrese Haliburton, Fedor suggests.

According to Fedor, the Cavs have their eye on a number of players in the second tier of the draft, including Toppin, Haliburton, Deni Avdija, and Isaac Okoro, among others. Moving down to No. 7 or No. 8 could allow them to “declutter their options” while picking up an extra asset or two.

It’s unclear how interested the Cavaliers would be in moving all the way down to No. 14, which is Boston’s top first-rounder. Cleveland sees a drop in talent after the top 10 or 11 prospects in this year’s draft class, says Fedor. There has been some speculation about a possible Gordon Hayward trade involving the Cavs and Celtics, but it’s not clear if that’s something the two sides have even discussed.

Hawks Rumors: Holiday, No. 6 Pick, Haliburton, Okongwu

Following up on Wednesday’s report linking the Hawks to Jrue Holiday, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic explains in further detail why he’s hearing that Atlanta currently isn’t a probable landing spot for the Pelicans guard.

According to Kirschner, there’s a belief that if Atlanta pursued Holiday, it would take the No. 6 overall pick and two young players. The Hawks aren’t interested in giving up that substantial a package for a 30-year-old on an expiring contract, even if Holiday would be a great fit next to Trae Young in the backcourt.

The Hawks could still be involved in a three-team deal where Holiday goes to another team, and could even emerge as a viable landing spot for Holiday if the Pelicans’ asking price drops, says Kirschner. However, a trade that sees the club giving up two young players isn’t being considered.

Here’s more on the Hawks from Kirschner:

  • Kirschner also addressed trade rumors related to the No. 6 pick, writing that if the draft were today, Atlanta would be prepared to make that selection rather than moving it. He also clarifies that the rumored Timberwolves proposal for the No. 6 pick – which includes the No. 17 pick and Jarrett Culver – is an offer Minnesota has put on the table for multiple teams.
  • Deni Avdija, Tyrese Haliburton, and Onyeka Okongwu look like the Hawks’ most likely targets if the club remains at No. 6, though Avdija may be off the board by then, Kirschner writes. If Haliburton and Okongwu are available, Kirschner thinks Atlanta would probably lean toward the former Iowa State guard.
  • Kirschner wonders if the Spurs, who own the No. 11 pick, might be a potential trade partner for Atlanta. Kirschner believes the Hawks would be interested in moving down if they could acquire a young player like Derrick White or Dejounte Murray, though I’m skeptical San Antonio would give up either player to move up five spots. Because Atlanta would prefer a young player whose timeline matches up with the current core, veterans like LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan are probably unlikely targets, Kirschner adds.

Draft Notes: Edwards, Okoro, Toppin, Haliburton, Hampton

Former Georgia guard Anthony Edwards has long been considered a strong bet to be one of the first three players off the board in the 2020 NBA draft, and his list of workouts confirms as much. Speaking today to reporters, including Mark Medina of USA Today (Twitter link), Edwards said he has worked out for the Timberwolves, Warriors, and Hornets, the teams that hold 2020’s top three picks.

That doesn’t necessarily guarantee that Edwards will be selected by one of those three teams, but he also said today that he hasn’t had any contact with the Bulls, who hold the No. 4 pick, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link). That’s a reasonably solid sign that Chicago doesn’t expect him to be available.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • Lottery prospects Isaac Okoro, Obi Toppin, and Tyrese Haliburton have only worked out so far for teams holding top-eight picks. Okoro has worked out for the Timberwolves, Warriors, and Cavaliers (Twitter link via Rod Beard of The Detroit News); Toppin has auditioned for the Wolves, Cavs, Hornets, and Knicks (Twitter link via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com); and Haliburton has had workouts for the Wolves, Warriors, Bulls, and Pistons (Twitter link via Beard).
  • RJ Hampton has auditioned for a wider range of teams, telling reporters today that he worked out for the Cavaliers, Pistons, Wizards, Celtics, Magic, Nets, and Nuggets (Twitter link via Ian Begley of SNY.tv). While three of those clubs have top-10 picks, three are outside the lottery, including Denver at No. 22.
  • After announcing earlier this week that 86 early entrant prospects had remained in the 2020 draft pool, the NBA announced today that two of those prospects submitted their paperwork in time to withdraw. Spanish forwards Sergi Martinez and Joel Parra have pulled out of the draft, per the league, leaving 84 early entrants – including 13 international prospects – eligible to be picked next Wednesday.

Nuggets Exploring Trading Into Top 10 Of Draft

The Nuggets are exploring the possibility of trading up into the top 10 of this year’s draft, two league sources tell Mike Singer of The Denver Post. The team currently holds the No. 22 overall pick.

Moving into the top 10 wouldn’t be easy for the Nuggets, who would likely have to give up some combination of young players and/or future draft picks. A source tells Singer that a deal is probably unlikely, though a handful of lottery selections – including those belonging to the Hawks (No. 6), Wizards (No. 9), and Celtics (No. 14) – are believed to be available.

It’s unclear which prospect the Nuggets would be targeting if they trade up into the top 10 — or if they might simply be looking to acquire a more appealing draft pick to flip in a package for an impact player. Singer contends that Tyrese Haliburton, Isaac Okoro, and Devin Vassell are among the potential top-10 picks who would be fits in Denver.

If the Nuggets don’t make a trade and remain at No. 22, they’re confident they’ll still end up with a player they like, a source tells Singer.

Hawks’ No. 6 Pick Drawing Interest From Wolves, Pelicans, Celtics

While the Timberwolves’ and Warriors’ attempts to move down from the top two spots in the 2020 NBA draft have dominated headlines, there are other clubs in the top half of the lottery with interest in trading down. The Hawks are one of those teams, and they’ve generated some interest in the No. 6 overall pick, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who reports (via Twitter) that the Timberwolves, Pelicans, and Celtics are among the teams exploring a deal.

Sources tell O’Connor that Minnesota is attempting to acquire a second lottery pick in addition to the No. 1 selection and have had talks with Atlanta about the No. 6 pick. If the Wolves attempt to move up, a deal could include the No. 17 selection and Jarrett Culver, says O’Connor.

This isn’t the first time Culver’s name has popped up in trade rumors. Zach Lowe of ESPN said last week that he believes Minnesota would only move the 2019 first-rounder in a deal for a star or for a high draft pick that would help the Wolves acquire a star. It’s not clear whether the No. 6 pick would fit that bill.

The Pelicans (No. 13) and Celtics (No. 14) currently hold the last two picks in the lottery. We’ve heard previously that Boston has explored the possibility of moving up into the middle of the lottery, dangling the No. 26 and No. 30 picks as a sweetener.

As for which prospects those teams might be targeting at No. 6, O’Connor hears from sources that Florida State’s Patrick Williams is one primary target. Williams has been frequently linked to the Pistons at No. 7, so any other team that wants him may have to move ahead of Detroit to secure his draft rights.

According to O’Connor, the Wolves are also high on Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton. John Hollinger of The Athletic conveyed a similar sentiment on Tuesday, writing that he could see the Wolves taking Haliburton over Anthony Edwards if they trade down from No. 1.

Draft Rumors: Edwards, Haliburton, Pistons, Cavs, Suns, More

While John Hollinger of The Athletic believes Anthony Edwards will still come off the board very early in next Wednesday’s draft, he notes within his new mock draft that many teams don’t seem especially enthusiastic about the former Georgia guard. Those teams believe in Edwards’ talent, but a “blah” Pro Day workout and some “iffy” background reports have made them nervous, according to Hollinger.

Hollinger has also heard that LaMelo Ball and Nico Mannion are among the players who haven’t necessarily had great interviews with teams, though it remains to be seen how much it’ll affect where they’re drafted.

On the other end of the spectrum, everybody seems to be high on Tyrese Haliburton, according to Hollinger, who says the former Iowa State guard is benefiting from 1-on-0 workouts and the background on him is “impeccable.” Desmond Bane and Isaiah Stewart are among the other prospects who have received some positive buzz for the impressions they’ve made in interviews with teams, writes Hollinger.

Hollinger’s mock draft for The Athletic is full of interesting tidbits and is worth checking out in full if you’re a subscriber. Here are a few more highlights:

  • Hollinger confirms that the Pistons are very interested in Florida State’s Patrick Williams – as has been previously reported – and suggests there are whispers that Detroit has made Williams a promise.
  • Obi Toppin and Deni Avdija are the only two names Hollinger has heard regularly connected to the Cavaliers at No. 5.
  • Onyeka Okongwu looks like a lock to go to Washington at No. 9 if he makes it that far, according to Hollinger, who says the question isn’t whether the Wizards will take Okongwu — it’s who they’ll take if he’s not available.
  • “The word is pretty strong” that the Suns are eyeing a backcourt piece with the No. 10 pick, prompting Hollinger to point out that the team may be looking to address the power forward spot in free agency.
  • There are rumors that Serbian forward Aleksej Pokusevski received a promise from a team in the first round. As Hollinger observes, Pokusevski’s agent Jason Ranne used to work for the Thunder, who have been willing to make draft promises in the past. However, even if Oklahoma City did make Pokusevski a promise, Hollinger is skeptical that he’ll still be on the board at No. 25.