Zach Norvell Jr.

Lakers Agree To Sign Zach Norvell, Devontae Cacok

The Lakers have reached deals with a pair of undrafted free agents following the conclusion of the 2019 draft. Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that the team will sign Zach Norvell Jr. to a two-way contract, while ESPN’s Jonathan Givony tweets that Devontae Cacok will ink an Exhibit 10 contract with L.A.

Norvell was a player viewed by many draft experts as a strong candidate to be selected on Thursday night after he left Gonzaga following his sophomore season. He ranks 15th on ESPN’s list of prospects who went undrafted. The shooting guard was a top perimeter threat for the Zags in 2018/19, averaging 14.9 PPG and shooting 37.0% from outside the three-point line (2.6 makes per game).

Two of Norvell’s teammates, Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke, were first-round picks on Thursday, so Norvell will become the third Gonzaga player to enter the NBA as a rookie this year.

As for Cacok, the UNC Wilmington forward isn’t as notable a name as Norvell, but he had a solid senior season in 2018/19, posting a double-double in 33 games (15.2 PPG, 12.3 RPG). His Exhibit 10 deal will make him a candidate to either become an affiliate player for the South Bay Lakers or to have his contract converted into a two-way pact.

Central Notes: Bulls, Gasol, Cavs, Pacers, Pistons

There’s a growing belief around the NBA that the Bulls are open to discussing trades for anyone on their roster – and any assets they hold – besides Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr., sources familiar with the team’s plans tell Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic.

Still, while the Bulls will likely consider a number of trade options this offseason, Mayberry makes a case that the club shouldn’t part ways with the No. 7 overall pick. Mayberry argues that cashing in their chips now for a veteran could be both premature and risky for the Bulls, who would have marginal assets available going forward. Plus, the No. 7 selection has proven valuable for the franchise in recent years — Markkanen and Carter were both selected at that spot.

Meanwhile, K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune tackles a handful of Bulls-related topics in his latest mailbag, exploring draft, trade, and free agency options. Johnson believes the Bulls would “absolutely” try to get involved as a facilitator in a multi-team Anthony Davis trade, and later suggests that if Chicago pursues an RFA point guard, Malcolm Brogdon is probably a more realistic target than D’Angelo Russell.

Here’s more from around the Central:

Draft Updates: Bol, Claxton, Norvell, Green Room

As expected, Oregon center Bol Bol held a Pro Day on Wednesday in Los Angeles, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who tweets that about a dozen NBA teams attended the event, including five general managers. Bol, who is viewed as one of the draft’s biggest high-risk, high-reward prospects, is coming back from surgery on his left foot and wanted to use the Pro Day to ease concerns about his health, says Givony.

Givony adds that Bol showed on Wednesday why he’s considered a top-five prospect in terms of talent, and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic (Twitter link) also hears from teams that the young big man looked good. However, Vecenie points out that the questions about Bol weren’t going to get answered in a non-contact open gym setting. He remains one of the draft’s most intriguing wild cards.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Georgia big man Nicolas Claxton has canceled and shut down all of his workouts for non-lottery teams, a source tells Vecenie (Twitter link). Claxton, who ranks 29th on ESPN’s big board, feels good about where he’ll be picked based on the feedback he’s received so far, per Vecenie.
  • Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr., the 63rd prospect on ESPN’s big board, said today he’s been told he’s projected to be drafted in the 20-40 range, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Norvell also said that he’s had 15 workouts during the pre-draft process (Twitter link).
  • Two more draft prospects have been invited to the Green Room for next Thursday’s event, according to reports. Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com tweets that Georgian center Goga Bitadze has received an invite, while Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com adds Keldon Johnson (Kentucky) to the list (Twitter link). Sixteen other Green Room invitees were previously reported.
  • In addition to his previously-reported workouts, Cameron Johnson (UNC) has auditioned for the Timberwolves, Celtics, Thunder, Sixers, and Warriors, tweets Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Press Box.
  • ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, Mike Schmitz, and Kevin Pelton (Insider link) named several of their favorite draft sleepers, singling out Grant Williams (Tennessee), Dylan Windler (Belmont), and Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State), among others.

Atlantic Draft Workouts: Sixers, Knicks, Nets

The Sixers will bring some potential late-first round prospects on Saturday, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Tennessee power forward Grant Williams, ranked No. 30 overall by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, and Villanova power forward Eric Paschall (No. 31) will visit, as well as Oregon forward Louis King (No. 51). They’ll be joined by Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech), V.J. King (Louisville) and Phil Booth (Villanova). The Sixers have the No. 24 pick in the first round and three early second-rounders (Nos. 33, 34 and 42).

We have more draft news regarding Atlantic Division teams:

  • The Sixers also worked out six prospects on Friday, Pompey tweets. That group included big man Christ Koumadje (Florida State) and Josh Sharma (Stanford) and guards Adam Mokoka (Serbian League), Zach Norvell Jr. (Gonzaga), Justin Simon (St. John’s) and Bryce Brown (Auburn).
  • Wofford 3-point specialist Fletcher Magee worked out for the Knicks on Friday, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. Louisville’s V.J. King also visited, Ian Begley of SNY TV tweets. St. John’s Justin Simon will also work out for the Knicks next Friday, Zagoria reports in another tweet.
  • Auburn’s Bryce Brown worked out for the Nets on Thursday, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington tweets.

Pacific Notes: Durant, Suns, Kings, Clippers

As relayed by The Associated Press, this Tuesday is the next time we may know more about a possible return of Warriors superstar Kevin Durant. Having already been ruled out for tonight’s Game 2, Wednesday night’s Game 3 marks the next opportunity for Durant’s return, but Tuesday is Golden State’s next practice.

Head coach Steve Kerr, having already said that Durant will need to practice before playing in a game, expounded upon his stance today, saying that Durant could potentially only need one day of practice to be cleared for game action.

“It’s really a day-to-day thing,” Kerr said “If we had a crystal ball, we would have known a long time ago what we were dealing with. But it’s just an injury (where) there’s been a lot of gray area. So, literally, it’s just day-to-day and how the progress is coming. And at this point he’s still not ready.”

But, when further pressed on the issue, and asked whether Durant will only need one practice, said “it’s feasible.” Accordingly, we should know a lot more on Tuesday as to whether Durant can return for Game 3.

There’s more from the Pacific Division this afternoon:

Draft Notes: Aiken, Wieskamp, Bowen, Jazz

All-Ivy League guard Bryce Aiken will take advantage of his final remaining year of NCAA eligibility and will return to Harvard for his senior season, the program announced today in a press release. Aiken had elected to test the draft waters this spring, but ultimately decided to pull out of the 2019 pool before next Wednesday’s withdrawal deadline.

“After having the opportunity to experience the NBA underclassmen process, I’m looking forward to graduating with my class next year, and, hopefully, leading Harvard basketball to unprecedented heights,” Aiken said in a statement.

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

Atlantic Notes: Cordinier, Fall, Guy, Norvell

Shooting guard Isaia Cordinier is hopeful of landing a two-way contract with the Nets, according to a NetsDaily.com report.  Cordinier anticipates playing with Brooklyn’s summer league team. The 6’5” Cordinier was taken in the second round by the Hawks last June and shipped to the Nets in the Jeremy Lin trade. Cordinier played in the French league this season after missing the 2017/18 season due to surgery on both knees to treat tendinitis.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Central Florida center Tacko Fall’s workout with the Knicks, which was scheduled for Monday, was postponed due to travel issues, Ian Begley of SNY-TV tweets. Fall is expected to reschedule his visit. The 7’7” Fall made a strong impression at the G League Elite Camp and Draft Combine.
  • Virginia guard Kyle Guy will be among the prospects the Raptors will evaluate on Tuesday, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets. The Raptors will also work out three other guards, including Canadian Andrew Nembhard, Matt Morgan (Cornell) and John Konchar (Purdue Fort Wayne). Centers Dewan Hernandez (Miami-Fla.), and Zach Hankins (Xavier) are the other prospects working out.
  • The Celtics worked out Gonzaga shooting guard Zach Norvell Jr. on Monday, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston tweets. Norvell is ranked No. 16 among shooting guard prospects by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. Penn State’s Josh Reaves, ranked No. 20 on the shooting guard list by Givony, was also in for a visit, according to Bryan Kalbrosky of Celtics Wire.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Hawks, Hornets

There have been no recent updates on the Wizards‘ search for a new head of basketball operations, leading to speculation that Washington is waiting to make a run at current Nuggets president of basketball ops Tim Connelly.

While Connelly’s Nuggets are still alive in the playoffs, David Aldridge of The Athletic argues that if Connelly is the Wizards’ man, they should go after him now. As Aldridge points out, active postseason runs didn’t stop the Timberwolves from hiring Gersson Rosas, or the Suns from naming Monty Williams their new head coach.

It’s not entirely clear if the Wizards are still targeting Connelly, but Aldridge hears from several sources that Denver’s head of basketball ops would be “delighted” to run the Wizards. A previous report referred to the Wizards’ open position as Connelly’s “dream job.” Connelly is still under contract with the Nuggets, but if the Wizards make an offer that significantly exceeds his current salary – which Aldridge says is “just north” of $2MM per year – then he could go to Denver’s ownership in good faith and ask for the opportunity to run his hometown team.

So far, the Wizards have interviewed Danny Ferry, Tommy Sheppard, Troy Weaver, and Rosas for the front office vacancy, Aldridge confirms.

As we wait to see what the Wizards do to replace Ernie Grunfeld, here’s more from around the Southeast…

Draft Notes: Zion, Norvell, Ponds, Tinkle

There’s a ton at stake this offseason for many of the teams involved in next week’s draft lottery, but there’s plenty at stake for consensus top prospect Zion Williamson as well. As ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, Mike Schmitz, Kevin Pelton, and Bobby Marks outline in an Insider-only article, not every team that has a shot at Williamson would be an ideal fit for him.

In the view of ESPN’s insiders, the Hawks, Mavericks, and Pelicans would be the most preferable landing spots for Williamson. The opportunity to play with up-and-coming play-makers – Trae Young in Atlanta, or Luka Doncic in Dallas – would help unlock Williamson’s potential.

On the other hand, ESPN’s panel doesn’t consider the Lakers, Bulls, and Sixers great fits for Williamson. Spacing is the primary concern for the Lakers and Sixers, and it’s unclear how a pairing with Joel Embiid would work. For the Bulls, Zach LaVine‘s ball dominance and Jim Boylen‘s “outdated” offense are viewed as red flags.

Here are several more draft-related notes:

  • Gonzaga sophomore guard Zach Norvell Jr. told reporters today that he intends to keep his name in the 2019 NBA draft, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. Norvell was one of 66 prospects announced on Wednesday as a 2019 draft combine participant.
  • St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds, another one of those 66, has workouts lined up with the Warriors, Bulls, Kings, Jazz, Celtics, and Mavericks, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Ponds is ranked as the No. 51 prospect on ESPN’s big board.
  • After working out for Utah and Philadelphia, Oregon State forward Tres Tinkle has auditions this week with the Raptors, Celtics, and Hornets, and will work out for the Hawks next week, writes Nick Daschel of The Oregonian.
  • After turning in an impressive performance at the Portsmouth Invitational, forward Jarrell Brantley (Charleston) has workouts lined up with 10 teams, including the Celtics, Nets, Timberwolves, Hornets, and Clippers, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.

Full List Of 2019 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed its list of 66 players who have been invited to next week’s draft combine in Chicago and who are expected to attend. The combine will take place from May 15-19.

While a small handful of top prospects often skip the event, that won’t be the case this year — Zion Williamson and Ja Morant are on the league’s list of 66 names, along with R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Jarrett Culver, Darius Garland, De’Andre Hunter, and many more. Of course, those top prospects may not participate fully in all of the workouts and scrimmages at the combine.

A few more names figure to be added to this list, as a select number of the 40 draft-eligible prospects participating in the G League Elite Camp earlier in the week are expected to receive invites to the combine.

Here’s the full list of 66 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order:

  1. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech (sophomore)
  2. R.J. Barrett, G/F, Duke (freshman)
  3. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky (freshman)
  4. Darius Bazley, F, Princeton HS (OH) (N/A)
  5. Bol Bol, C, Oregon (freshman)
  6. Jordan Bone, G, Tennessee (junior)
  7. Brian Bowen, F, USA (born 1998)
  8. Ky Bowman, G, Boston College (junior)
  9. Ignas Brazdeikis, F, Michigan (freshman)
  10. Moses Brown, C, UCLA (freshman)
  11. Brandon Clarke, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  12. Nicolas Claxton, F, Georgia (sophomore)
  13. Jarrett Culver, G/F, Texas Tech (sophomore)
  14. Luguentz Dort, G, Arizona State (freshman)
  15. Devon Dotson, G, Kansas (freshman)
  16. Carsen Edwards, G, Purdue (junior)
  17. Bruno Fernando, F, Maryland (sophomore)
  18. Daniel Gafford, F/C, Arkansas (sophomore)
  19. Darius Garland, G, Vanderbilt (freshman)
  20. Quentin Grimes, G, Kansas (freshman)
  21. Kyle Guy, G, Virginia (junior)
  22. Jaylen Hands, G, UCLA (sophomore)
  23. Jaxson Hayes, F/C, Texas (freshman)
  24. Tyler Herro, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  25. Jaylen Hoard, F, Wake Forest (freshman)
  26. Talen Horton-Tucker, G, Iowa State (freshman)
  27. De’Andre Hunter, F, Virginia (sophomore)
  28. Ty Jerome, G, Virginia (junior)
  29. Cameron Johnson, G, UNC (senior)
  30. Keldon Johnson, F, Kentucky (freshman)
  31. Mfiondu Kabengele, C, Florida State (sophomore)
  32. Louis King, F, Oregon (freshman)
  33. Romeo Langford, G, Indiana (freshman)
  34. Dedric Lawson, F, Kansas (junior)
  35. Jalen Lecque, G, Brewster Academy (NH) (N/A)
  36. Nassir Little, F, UNC (freshman)
  37. Charles Matthews, G, Michigan (junior)
  38. Jalen McDaniels, F, San Diego State (sophomore)
  39. Ja Morant, G, Murray State (sophomore)
  40. Zach Norvell Jr., G, Gonzaga (sophomore)
  41. Jaylen Nowell, G, Washington (sophomore)
  42. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville (sophomore)
  43. Chuma Okeke, F, Auburn (sophomore)
  44. KZ Okpala, F, Stanford (sophomore)
  45. Miye Oni, G/F, Yale (junior)
  46. Eric Paschall, F, Villanova (senior)
  47. Shamorie Ponds, G, St. John’s (junior)
  48. Jordan Poole, G, Michigan (sophomore)
  49. Jontay Porter, F, Missouri (sophomore)
  50. Kevin Porter Jr, G, USC (freshman)
  51. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (freshman)
  52. Cam Reddish, F, Duke (freshman)
  53. Naz Reid, C, LSU (freshman)
  54. Isaiah Roby, F, Nebraska (junior)
  55. Luka Samanic, F, Croatia (born 2000)
  56. Admiral Schofield, G, Tennessee (senior)
  57. Simisola Shittu, F, Vanderbilt (freshman)
  58. Killian Tillie, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  59. PJ Washington, F, Kentucky (sophomore)
  60. Tremont Waters, G, LSU (sophomore)
  61. Quinndary Weatherspoon, G, Missippi State (senior)
  62. Coby White, G, UNC (freshman)
  63. Kris Wilkes, G, UCLA (sophomore)
  64. Grant Williams, F, Tennessee (junior)
  65. Zion Williamson, F, Duke (freshman)
  66. Dylan Windler, G, Belmont (senior)

Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga) and Matisse Thybulle (Washington) are among the potential first-round picks who aren’t on the NBA’s list of combine participants, as noted by Jeremy Woo of SI.com and ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter links).