Storyline: Draft Lottery

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A day after watching teams leapfrog his Phoenix Suns in the NBA Draft Lottery, general manager Ryan McDonough wasn’t feeling any worse for wear. He’s comfortable picking fourth in the June 22 draft. And after Phoenix rested veterans this past season to help its lottery odds, McDonough does have a critique for the current system. “I would like to see the odds be smoothed out a little bit,” he told Jon Bloom on Wednesday as a guest of the Suns postseason special show on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.

Still, behind closed doors in the Celtics training facility in Waltham, there was disappointment. But there was no cursing Isaiah Thomas for being in the lottery room in New York and not bringing home the big prize. “There were some groans. I think the buildup, once we weren’t sixth and we weren’t five and we weren’t four, there was a lot of hope that we could get a good pick,” Ainge said. “But we’ll take it. We’ll give Isaiah a passing grade. We’ll keep him.”

The Lakers entered the drawing with the second-best odds – 19.9 percent, second only to Philadelphia’s 25 percent – and Black’s worst nightmare was seeing the Lakers moving down instead of up in the draft’s pecking order. Especially when most NBA officials firmly believe there are two players – Louisiana State’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram – who are head-and-shoulders above their draft classmates. So, just how nervous was Black? “Very,’’ he said in a serious tone. “I’ve been in a lot of pressure-packed situations during my career like the Finals. I was here for this last year, too, and I have to say this is even worse.’’

Sixers executives celebrated inside the New York Hilton Midtown with hugs and cheers. “We deserved this,” they repeated to each other. The 76ers had the third overall pick each of the past two drafts. “The city has endured a lot over the past three seasons,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “Our fans deserve this. … You just get a flood of memories when you hear you have the first pick. It just ties it all (together). I’m very thrilled for our organization. “I never felt jinxed. I never felt jinxed. I truly believe in what we’re doing. I feel like in many ways we’re being rewarded for our patience and perseverance — especially the city’s patience and perseverance.”

It was a tweet that had been suggested in an email, which Mutombo forwarded to For The Win, sent from a team staffer in the event that the team did win the lottery. “As you know tonight is the NBA Draft Lottery and we are all excited and hopeful we walk away with the #1 overall pick,” the email read. “To help create excitement for the team, would it be possible for you (or whoever controls your account) to post a congratulatory tweet in the event we do get the #1 Overall Pick? I know you have ties to many teams, but none of which would be in the running for the #1 pick this year.”
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August 23, 2017 | 12:06 pm EDT Update

Hornets add Julyan Stone

Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has signed guard Julyan Stone. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Stone (6-6, 200) has appeared in 47 career NBA games (two starts) over three seasons with Denver (2011-13) and Toronto (2013-14), averaging 1.3 points, 1.1 assists and 1.0 rebounds in 7.0 minutes per contest. He most recently joins Charlotte after a stint with Reyer Venezia Mestre of the Lega Basket Serie A in Italy, appearing in 26 games and helping the squad to a 2017 Serie A Championship. Prior to his time with Reyer Venezia Mestre, Stone played with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA G League last season, seeing action in 33 games (31 starts), averaging 7.9 points, 8.6 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 34.7 minutes per contest.
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Boris Diaw did not close any door for his future. Diaw is still free agent and did not rule out a return to Europe. “I won’t close any door” the French forward told Le Figaro. “I will be in the NBA next season? I don’t have a club yet. I have a few contacts with teams but nothing concrete. So I am not sure I will be in the NBA 100% next season. A return to Europe? It may happen” Diaw added.
But questions remain about Thomas, who was hobbled by a serious hip injury during the most recent playoffs and is still set to undergo tests before training camp to establish his status. What’s more, the fact that he infamously called for the Celtics to “Back up the Brink’s truck” next summer when he’s eligible for a huge payday means Cleveland will have to eventually find clarity on this front. For James’ part, he’s on record as a huge fan of Thomas. “(The Celtics) got a clear-cut star and that’s Isaiah,” James said in late December. “The notion that they don’t have a star I think is ‘fugazi’ as Donnie Brasco would say. Earlier I was watching the movie. So, they’re a good team for a reason and it starts with the head of the snake and that’s Isaiah.”
Storyline: Isaiah Thomas Free Agency