Utah Jazz

Draft Notes: Wilson, Fox, Suns, Mitchell

The Jazz are denying a report that they offered a guarantee to take Michigan’s D.J. Wilson in the first round, according to Aaron Falk and Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. That story was passed on by Rod Beard of The Detroit News, who said the team promised to select Wilson with either its 24th or 30th pick in the June 22nd draft. Walt Perrin, Utah’s vice president of player personnel, said the Jazz haven’t offered a definite guarantee to any player in his 16 years with the organization. “It does put you at somewhat of a disadvantage because if someone comes to you with a great trade, you’ve made your commitment to that player, so you can’t trade,” he said. … “We try to keep our flexibility.”

There’s more news as draft day approaches:

  • Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox will hold workouts for the Lakers, who hold the second pick, and the Sixers, who have No. 3, tweets Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News. The workout in L.A. is expected to happen between June 11th and 17th.
  • The Suns will begin draft workouts Monday, writes Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic. A session is also set for Tuesday, with Jarrett Allen of Texas and Luke Kornet of Vanderbilt expected to attend. Kornet, a 7-foot senior who is projected to be taken in the second round, grew up near Phoenix and would love to join the organization. “The Suns were my favorite team growing up, like when Steve Nash was there,” he said. “Right now I know they’re super young with [Devin] Booker and [Marquese] Chriss and [Dragan] Bender. They’re growing and finding their identity, but they have some great pieces.” Phoenix owns the fourth pick, along with second rounders at 32 and 54, and is expected to bring in most of the top-billed players.
  • Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell is steadily moving up NBA draft boards, relays Chris Reichert of The Step Back. Reichert compares Mitchell to Celtics guard Avery Bradley and says he has decent offensive skills to go with his celebrated defense.

Gordon Hayward Has A Big Choice To Make

  • Jazz forward Gordon Hayward will have a big choice this offseason: re-sign with the Jazz or pursue his self-admitted goal of winning a championship elsewhere. As Kincade Upstill of Deseret News writes, Hayward has been a fixture of Utah’s success and a huge reason why the team reached the second round of the playoffs this season. His teammates, the team, and the fans want him to return — and the Jazz can offer him the most significant dollars. However, it will ultimately be up to Hayward where he wants to be next season.

Hoops Links Vol. 6: Coleman Flashbacks, Biedrins Flashbacks, More

Welcome back to Hoops Links. Here we round up some of our favorite blog content that we come across over the course of the week. As always, we’d like to encourage writers to send us their best stuff for possible inclusion in future editions. Remember, what we’re looking for is unique, entertaining material that showcases why the internet is so gosh darn fun.

Send your best pieces to HoopsRumorsTips@Sports.ws or simply yell at me on Twitter (@AustinKent). Similarly, you can flag down any Hoops Rumors staffer at a grocery store and immediately hit them up with a choreographed dance routine explaining why your Jared Dudley hot take deserves top recognition in next week’s link dump.

Note: We typically publish Hoops Links on Thursday, but next week’s edition will be published on Friday (June 2). This will be a one-time change so that we can all observe Smush Parker‘s birthday privately with our families. We’ll slide back to Thursday for Hoops Links Vol. 7 on June 8.


Ben Simmons verticalThe skill set that Ben Simmons has shown and the college numbers he produced during his one year at LSU are on par with some of the greatest of our generation. Much of his success, however, will come down to circumstance. Can the Sixers ensure that Simmons is in a situation to live up to his potential? Or, as Kwame Fisher-Jones of the 76er Files cautions, is he destined to underachieve like similarly versatile former Sixers forward Derrick Coleman?

Rating: 8 out of 10 NBA Jam Legends
Author: Kwame Fisher-Jones – @MrJonesNBA
Link: Ben Simmons’ potential


When LeBron James clanged a wide open dunk off the back of the rim in Game 4 of the CavaliersCeltics series, it robbed Kevin Love of a potential Assist of the Year. Not surprisingly, Carter Rodriguez of Fear the Sword has put the wheels in motion to file a formal petition to credit the big man with a much deserved assist anyway. What even is an assist when you think about it, man?

Rating: 9 out of 10 They Have A Points…
Author: Carter Rodriguez – @Carter_Shade
Link: Kevin Love’s outlet assist


In a world where nearly everything that takes place on a basketball court is trackable, the one thing that experts can’t seem to quantify is the impact team chemistry has on success. Brian Freeman of Blazer’s Edge explored the gaps in our understanding of team chemistry and suggests what might play a role in successful organizations capitalizing on it.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Intangibles
Author: Brian Freeman – @BrianFreeman_NBA
Link: Team chemistry in the NBA


The Warriors are the team NBA fans love to hate. Eric He of Blue Man Hoop, however, thinks that everybody needs to slow down, quit hating and actually appreciate the franchise. Given Golden State’s role in revolutionizing the league, he does have a point. Can’t we just be happy for the organization less than five years removed from giving Andris Biedrins a standing ovation for hitting a pair of free throws?

Rating: 8 out of 10 Monta Ellis Scooters
Author: Eric He – @EricHeSports
Link: Appreciating the Golden State Warriors


If Chris Bosh is able to fully part ways from the Heat and work his way back onto a basketball court, the Clippers should take a look at him as a possible reserve big man, Blake Harris of Clipperholics writes. Though his health will always be the most important consideration, Bosh could very well be a major steal for whichever club takes a chance on him.

Rating: 7 out of 10 Mo Speights Replacements
Author: Blake Harris – @BlakeHHarris
Link: Chris Bosh and the Clippers


There’s no denying that Kemba Walker has stepped up as the greatest New Generation Hornets player, but is he wasting his prime toiling away in mediocrity? For Swarm and Sting, Elijah Edwards discusses the idea of letting the point guard pursue success elsewhere if the franchise isn’t able to surround him with the help he needs to compete.

Rating: 7 out of 10 Miles Plumlee Contracts
Author: Elijah Edwards
Link: Trading Kemba Walker


Gordon Hayward verticalWhen Gordon Hayward hits free agency this summer, he’ll do so as perhaps the most coveted, reasonably attainable option on the market. Evan Dyal of Sir Charles in Charge took a good long look at the five most likely destinations for Hayward, delving beyond simply the Celtics and Jazz, two clubs regarded as frontrunners for his services.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Professional StarCraft Circuits
Author: Evan Dyal – @EvanDyal
Link: Gordon Hayward free agency


After his first year at the helm, Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder showed that he’s a worthy starter with plenty of room to grow. Thomas Jenkins of Peachtree Hoops recently broke down what might be in store for the 23-year-old, suggesting that so long as Schroder continues to develop, the club’s future looks bright.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Blonde Patches
Author: Thomas Jenkins – @TJenkins122
Link: Dennis Schroder potential


Admit it, you knew that it wouldn’t be long before the thorough analysis would come regarding whether or not the Celtics truly need Isaiah Thomas. For Nylon Calculus, Ian Levy broke down the situation, including Boston’s improbable Game 3 victory and the squad’s all-around improvement on the defensive end of the ball when Thomas is sidelined. The C’s don’t need to oust Thomas any time soon but they could afford to spare him if the right opportunity arose.

Rating: 9 out of 10 Scatter Plots
Author: Ian Levy – @HickoryHigh
Link: The Celtics without Isaiah Thomas


Don’t expect the fourth pick in the NBA Draft to turn things around for the Suns, Valley of the Suns contributor Robert Neal writes. So how does the franchise, then, figure out where to go after a tanked season gone awry? Neal explores ways the Suns can tangibly improve their roster without relying on a rookie.

Rating: 7 out of 10 #FreeChriss Campaigns
Author: Robert Neal – @RobertN4110
Link: Phoenix Suns offseason

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Update: Wilson, Wagner, Williams, Yurtseven

Michigan’s D.J. Wilson has decided to remain in the draft, tweets Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. The 6’10 sophomore is projected as a possible late first-rounder, with Givony putting him 29th in his top 100 list. Sources told Rod Beard of The Detroit News that Wilson has received a guarantee from the Jazz, who own the 24th and 30th picks (Twitter link). Wilson averaged 11.0 points and 5.3 rebounds for the Wolverines this season.

There are more draft decisions to report as tonight’s deadline for collegians to withdraws gets closer:

  • Wilson’s teammate, Moritz Wagner, will spend another season at Michigan, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). The 6’11” sophomore out of Germany was reluctant to make the move to the NBA until he was sure he is ready, relays Brendan F. Quinn of MLive (Twitter link). “I would’ve hated myself if I’d found myself in the D-League next year,” Wagner said. “I would rather play in college.”
  • Johnathan Williams is headed back to national runner-up Gonzaga (via Rothstein). The 6’9″ forward averaged 10.2 points per game as a junior and was a long shot to be drafted.
  • Omer Yurtseven will withdraw from the draft and spend another season at North Carolina State, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. The 7-footer out of Uzbekistan was a part-time player with the Wolfpack as a freshman, averaging 5.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per night.
  • Justin Jackson has decided to spend another year at Maryland (via Goodman). DraftExpress projects the 6’8″ freshman to be a first-round pick in 2018.
  • Tacko Fall will be back at Central Florida next season (via Rothstein). The 7’6″ native of Senegal averaged 10.9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game as a freshman with the Golden Knights.
  • MiKyle McIntosh has pulled out of the draft and plans to transfer from Illinois State, tweets Evan Daniels of Fox Sports 1. The Canadian forward averaged 12.7 points per game this season and will be eligible immediately at his next school.
  • Chris Clemons will return to Campbell next season (via Rothstein). The sophomore point guard would have been an extreme long shot to be drafted.

Diallo Drawing Interest As Deadline To Withdraw Nears

Hamidou Diallo hasn’t played organized basketball in nearly five months, but he’s drawing interest around the league, sources tell Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog (Twitter link). The Nets, Bulls, Bucks, Heat, Pacers and Jazz have all expressed interest in the athletic shooting guard.

Diallo is currently ranked as the 42nd best prospect in the draft, according to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. Some believe he has a chance to move into the first round, as Zagoria writes in a full-length piece for The New York Times. “I would not be surprised if his combination of athleticism and skills opens some eyes, and then he’ll have a tough decision,” ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla said. ” Do you want to be the 25th pick in this year’s draft or do you want to have a chance to maybe be a top 10 pick [next year].”

The Queens native hasn’t yet made a decision yet on whether he will remain in the draft or play at Kentucky, Zagoria passes along in a full-length piece on his website. Diallo enrolled at the school to play for John Calipari in January but opted not to join the basketball team. He, like all prospects, has until tonight to make a decision.

Derrick Favors' Time In Utah May Be Over

  • Jazz forward Derrick Favors has been a fixture in Utah since joining the team in the Deron Williams trade in 2011. Favors, 28, explained to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune that he wants to stay with the Jazz but it may not be possible. The team will be invested in re-signing Gordon Hayward to a longterm contract, which could eat up most of the team’s salary.”Everyone knows I love Utah, and I love playing for the Jazz,” Favors said. “But I have to prepare myself this offseason to have a great year, whatever city I’m in.”

Draft Notes: Aldridge, Robinson, McIntosh, Kuzma

The Celtics are likely to select one of the top two point guards, Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball, rather than moving their pick, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com. Boston has to protect itself with a tough decision coming on whether to re-sign Isaiah Thomas in the summer of 2018 and Fultz would make the most sense, Aldridge continues. Ball would be a natural fit with the Lakers, while the Sixers will probably go with small forward Josh Jackson, though Kentucky’s Malik Monk is an intriguing alternative, Aldridge adds. A trade in which the Suns move up a spot to snag Jackson to settle their small forward issues isn’t out of the question, according to Aldridge, who goes through each team’s need on a pick-by-pick basis.

In other news involving the draft:

  • Austin Peay’s Josh Robinson will hire an agent, meaning he won’t be able to return to the university, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). The 6’2″ guard, who missed time this season after being suspended from the school’s basketball team, will look to play overseas.
  • MiKyle McIntosh is working out for the Raptors today, Goodman tweets. The Illinois State product has until Wednesday to make a final decision on entering the draft.
  • Iowa State point guard Monte Morris headed the list of prospects worked out by the Kings today, Sean Cunningham of KXTV tweets. Morris is considered second-round material by both DraftExpress and ESPN’s Chad Ford.
  • Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss and Indiana big man Thomas Bryant were among the prospects the Lakers worked out on Monday, Robert Morales of the Orange County Register reports. None of the players Los Angeles brought in are considered first-round prospects.
  • University of Utah forward Kyle Kuzma, who has already hired an agent, will work out for the Jazz on Tuesday, according to Aaron Falk and Tony Jones of the Salt Lake City Tribune. The 6’9” Kuzma, who is considered a second-round prospect, was one of the other hopefuls who worked for the Lakers on Monday.

Jazz Willing to Sell Picks?

Boston will have up to $30MM in cap space, which Ainge would like to use on Jazz free agent Gordon Hayward. If he stays in Utah, the Celtics will have to consider other options, which could include Anthony. Berman says the Knicks would want Jae Crowder as the centerpiece of a deal, along with one of Boston’s two first-rounders in 2018. A signed-and-traded Jonas Jerebko might have to be included to make the salaries line up, but Boston has the cap space to handle most of Anthony’s $31MM price, including his trade kicker.

  • The Nets may target Spurs forward Jonathon Simmons in free agency, according to NetsDaily. GM Sean Marks has identified small forward as the primary position of need, and Simmons has been outstanding in the playoffs. Simmons, who will be a restricted free agent, has averaged 16 points per game in the Western Conference finals and is shooting 40% from 3-point range. The website also says Brooklyn might be the team to gamble on oft-injured Harry Giles in the draft, and identifies the Sixers, Celtics and Jazz as teams that could be most willing to sell some picks.

Jazz Prioritize Hayward, Hill While Favors, Burks Are More Expendable

The biggest priority for the Jazz this summer will be retaining their players, an Associated Press report says. General manager Dennis Lindsey is aware of the challenge and accepts it head on.

Player retention would be the next step,” Lindsey said, before expanding with ways that the Jazz can improve upon this year’s success. “Player development. A strategic add that can complement the group where there’s just a really good fit. Whether that fit is mentality, experience or skill-set.

At the top of Lindsey’s list of players to retain will be All-Star forward Gordon Hayward. Though the Butler alum just missed out on an All-NBA selection – and the resulting financial reward – the Jazz can still make a solid case to convince the forward to return to the team that drafted and developed him.

Point guard George Hill is another body that Lindsey will look to keep in town over the offseason. Hill will be an unrestricted free agent after his one season with the Jazz and will likely generate considerable interest coming off a career year.

Celtics To Prioritize Gordon Hayward In Free Agency

The Celtics have the assets to pull off a trade for a star this summer, though the team is focusing its attention on the free agent market with the hopes landing Gordon Hayward, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports (video link). Wojnarowski notes that Boston could have a better idea of where it stands with Hayward leading up to the draft.

Hayward didn’t make an All-NBA team, which means he won’t be eligible for the new designated player extension. That marginalizes the advantage that the Jazz have in re-signing the 27-year-old and it could open the door for another team to pry him from Utah. Celtics coach Brad Stevens recruited and coached Hayward at Butler University prior to making the jump to the professional ranks.

Boston has just under $62MM in guaranteed salary on the books next season against a projected $101MM salary cap. However, that total doesn’t include a $7MM+ cap hold for the No. 1 overall pick or a $7.7MM+ cap hold for restricted free agent Kelly Olynyk, so the team may have to get creative to open up space for a maximum salary contract.

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