Earl K. Sneed: Dennis Smith Jr. (left hip strain) says he hopes to return sooner than Rick Carlisle’s two-game prediction: “I don’t know about two (games). I know one is mandatory. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow.”
July 3, 2022 | 5:04 pm EDT Update
Kevin Durant’s quest to find a new home as he waits for a trade from the Brooklyn Nets could take him to a place he knows very well. Appearing on ESPN Radio, Marc J. Spears of Andscape called the Golden State Warriors a team to “keep an eye on” for Durant. Spears later took to Twitter to give more context to his report. Spears noted the Warriors “could” potentially offer the best package for both sides, with a deal involving Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga and James Wiseman.
Keith Smith: Talking to some folks around the NBA, it sounds like some of the better free agents on the board are waiting to see what happens with KD and Kyrie trades. One agent told me: “Some teams might need to fill a lot of rotation minutes after a trade. We can be patient for now.”
KC Johnson: Can confirm Goran Dragic has agreed to a one-year deal with the Chicago Bulls, per source, which @Shams Charania had 1st. Nikola Vucevic, I’m told, played significant role in this situation.
Paolo Banchero will face immense pressure and other related challenges as the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, but the former Duke standout is ready for all of it. Banchero hit the court with his new team for the first time on Sunday as the Orlando Magic prepare for their upcoming stint in the Las Vegas Summer League. He worked extensively with Jamahl Mosley on several drills, and left an impression on the second-year head coach. “The one thing I’ve been observing more is his willingness and understanding of the game,” Mosley said. “Obviously, a fantastic teammate (by) pushing guys and trying to learn the ins and outs of the NBA system. A lot is coming at him and he has done a great job of embracing it. He is not afraid to ask questions and be willing to learn.”
The 19-year-old has been one of the most highly-recruited players over the years and is used to that pressure. He has often been targeted on the court but embraces the challenge and would have it no other way. “I’ve kinda always had a target on my back since high school,” Banchero said. “Going to Duke, it was the same thing. I was a projected top pick so every guy I went against wanted to get the best of me. It is going to be the same thing in summer league and it is going to be the same thing in the NBA. I just gotta be ready for it and accept the challenge.”