Even in his absence, though, Doncic created a stir when…

Even in his absence, though, Doncic created a stir when he told reporters in Europe this week that he was not sure he would be playing his final games for Real Madrid. That led to speculation that Doncic, perhaps, would not play for the team that landed the No. 2 pick in the lottery on Tuesday, the Kings — but would, instead, opt to sign a new contract and stay in Spain unless he could steer his way to a team of his choosing. But Kings fans — and fans of any of the teams at the top of next month’s draft — can breathe easy. Doncic’s comments had nothing to do with Sacramento or an intention to use the threat of staying in Europe to pick his team. “Luka has stated no particular thought on any NBA teams,” his agent, Bill Duffy, told Sporting News on Thursday.

More on No. 1 pick


http://twitter.com/beasleo/status/997209556517376002
McDonough said he’ll likely be heading to Spain in the coming weeks to interview and watch Doncic play. “I was hoping it was unanimous. That would make my job easier,” McDonough joked when he heard Jackson’s pick. “I guess we got a decision to make.”
There will be plenty of time for assessment and evaluation, but both players would fit well with the talent the Suns have assembled. Devin Booker is already a franchise cornerstone and his ability to space the floor, coupled with Doncic’s potential as a stretch guard, is tantalizing. But the option to add Ayton, a physically imposing center who would immediately offer an inside-out presence to Booker, is intriguing as well. “Hopefully (the No. 1 pick) gives us another foundational player to build around,” McDonough said. “We feel like we have one in Devin Booker, we feel like Josh Jackson has the potential to be one. He certainly made strides over the second half of the past season. Usually in the NBA it takes three elite players to win at a high level.”
Michael Wallace: Hearing initially Kings gladly willing to take whoever Suns leave on the board after first pick (Luka or Ayton), with neither falling below second if picks are kept. The Hawks are the team that could flip the rest of the draft board upside down as the true wildcard at No. 3.
“Obviously getting the top pick in this draft with all the talent and all the different options, boy, I’m getting emotional,” General Manager Ryan McDonough said. “It was special. It was cool.” Not surprisingly, McDonough wouldn’t reveal the Suns' plans for the No. 1 pick. “Absolutely not,” he said. “I’ll let you know June 21. I know people jump to conclusions as to who it’s going to be but we don’t know yet.”
Michael Cunningham: The winning combination for Suns No. 1 pick in order: 9, 12, 6, 1. Hawks had a chance until the last number.
In his interview for Marca TV, Suns star player Devin Booker talked about the talent gathered in the NBA Draft, also mentioning Real Madrid‘s Luka Doncic. “I don’t know what we’re gonna do. I don’t know if we are going to have number one pick yet but it’s going to be exciting. There’s a lot of talented people in college with DeAndre Ayton from Arizona, Marvin Bagley from Duke, Luka (Doncic, Real Madrid), Trae Young (Oklahoma Sooners)… So, it’s going to be an interesting draft. I’m looking forward to it. Whatever guy comes in, I hope he’s ready to work and ready to join this journey that we’re about to take.”
It’s been suggested that having Kokoskov on board means the Suns will bypass Arizona center Deandre Ayton if they get the No. 1 pick and take Doncic instead. That makes some sense in that Kokoskov knows Doncic, and Doncic would be a perfect fit alongside Booker for the wide-open offense Kokoskov wants to run. McDonough, however, said that’s not necessarily the case.
“It’s an easy assumption to make, but we’re going to draft whoever we think the best player is,” McDonough said. “If we do get the Number 1 pick, Doncic will certainly be in that mix. But Ayton and a few other guys will, as well.”
“I have a great relationship with Luka”, Willy Hernangomez explains. “He’s almost part of the Hernangómez family. I talk a lot with him and what I try, from my experience, is not to create too many expectations for the time being” The Charlotte Hornets player expects Luka to rank high in the draft, if not be the first overall pick: “For me, he must be among the first, if not the number 1 of the draft.”
CBS Sports' Gary Parrish has Ayton second in his latest NBA mock draft, behind Duke's Marvin Bagley. And CBS Sports' Reid Forgrave, in a mock draft focused on "max upside," also put Ayton second, behind Texas' Mohamed Bamba. So does Ayton believe he should be the top pick in the NBA Draft? "Yes," he answered confidently on Friday. "I play hard every day. Nobody has the competitiveness like me. I think I'm different from everybody else."
One of the most important personalities in the history of European basketball, the now retired, 74-year-old Ivkovic had coached most (if not all) prominent players incubated in the heart of the Balkan peninsula, while at the helm of the national teams of Yugoslavia and Serbia. Including Kukoc and the late Drazen. “He’s (Doncic) a phenomenon. Drazen Petrovic played “1” and Toni Kukoc from “1” to “4”. I believe that neither of them played so maturely when they were 18, as Doncic plays now,” Ivkovic said with a tone of certainty, while interviewed by Greek Cosmote TV.
David Pick: Scouts for LAL, DNV, ATL, and WAS, I'm told, saw Luka Doncic mess around with a career-high 33 points, shooting 14/21 FGs in 37 minutes against the best defensive team outside the NBA.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper “El Espanol“, Florentino Perez admitted that keeping Luka Doncic after this season will be more than hard. “Every day that we can keep Doncic in the team is a luxury,” said Perez. “We are talking about one of the best players in the world, at the age of 18. We all want his professional life to be the best possible, but we will work with him to see if we can keep him a little longer.”
“Luka is a unique player. I don’t compare him to anyone. For me he plays in a magical way. I enjoy it, but not because he is my son or I am crazy. Luke is a bohemian, a basketball romantic. He has to improve his shot and I would love to see him shooting more from two” Sasa told AS. “NBA? He will play with Real Madrid this season. Luka is 18. It is going to he his decision. He is likely to go to the NBA very soon. But people from Madrid don’t need to be worried about that. They have a great basketball school full of young players and there will be soon the new Luka” Sasa added.
Doncic, who went for 27 points and nine rebounds against Latvia, is building confidence in scouts and momentum in the debate as the No. 1 overall draft pick for 2018. "Yes, 100 percent," said the executive when asked if Doncic could go first. "His game is leap years above anyone. Continues to shine and impress."
Markelle says he’s “cool” with Lonzo Ball, and if there’s any lingering criticism of Markelle it is that he is indeed too cool — so laid back and emotionless he can come off robotic. “People think I’m not happy, but I’m always happy,” he says, pointing out he’s taken expressionless photos since his days with braces. “I’m saving my smile for a big day, and that day is coming up soon. All those people who say he’s not going to smile on draft day, that’s the day I’m going to have the biggest smile on my face.”
Michael Eaves: Received some surprising info on Markelle Fultz and the #Celtics today. Some within the organization were not impressed with his workout. The most glaring critique was that he was not as explosive as they expected/hoped. Afterwards, team felt as if he was NOT the best prospect.
According to a high-level front-office source, the reason the Sixers “only” paid a price of two first-round picks is because both teams see little separation between no. 1 and no. 3. It’s more about preference of player — Philly loves Markelle Fultz’s talent and his fit with its developing roster. The timing of the deal and the protections on the pick suggests both teams were negotiating on common grounds.
Harrison Faigen: Fultz himself retweeted it pic.twitter.com/RdYGiKxVvY

http://twitter.com/hmfaigen/status/876290809737355264
Derek Bodner: Celtics will get Lakers pick if it falls between 2 and 5 in the 2018 draft, per league source. If not, the Celtics will get the Kings in '19
Adrian Wojnarowski: Lakers had interest in pursuing a deal for No. 1 pick/Fultz, but Sixers ability to potentially deliver 3 FRP's in deal too much to overcome.
According to league sources, the Celts have been very willing to discuss deals for the No. 1 choice. “If (the Celtics) can turn that into more than one player and still get a guy it wants (in this draft), I think they’d love to do that,” one NBA executive said.
The Celtics and 76ers have been involved in substantive talks regarding a trade involving the first and third picks in next Thursday’s NBA draft, the Herald has confirmed. The story was first reported by ESPN and The Vertical. According to Herald sources, however, the move does not appear to be imminent, and it’s quite possible nothing will be decided until perhaps Monday.
Both clubs are looking into what else Philadelphia would need to offer to move up the two positions in the draft. Per the discussions that already have taken place, it’s a given that the 76ers will have to include at least one other future first-round pick.
Michael Pina: A source told me rumored Celtics/Sixers deal involving No. 1 pick isn't far along. No specific pieces set in place just yet.
Adam Himmelsbach: Sources indicating 76ers/Cs trade possibility is definitely real. Source close to Fultz says they're "Not hearing too much. Just waiting."
In the proposed deal, Boston would acquire the 76ers’ No. 3 overall pick in 2017 in a package that includes a future first from the 76ers, sources said. Philadelphia’s 2018 unprotected first-round pick that was acquired from the Lakers has been part of the discussions, sources said.
A day after Markelle Fultz talked up his fit next to D'Angelo Russell following his first workout for the Los Angeles Lakers, there are reports that president of basketball operations Magic Johnson wants to make such a pairing a reality. According to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, Johnson "'is in love' with Fultz" and might attempt to trade for the Boston Celtics No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft in order to select him. Givony reports that Johnson might try to do this with an offer of Julius Randle and the Lakers' own No. 2 pick.
The Boston Celtics are engaged in talks with the Philadelphia 76ers on a trade for the No. 1 pick in next week's NBA draft, sources said Friday. League sources told ESPN on Friday that the Sixers and Celtics are working on a trade that, in its current iteration, would send a package of Sixers draft picks to Boston -- including Philadelphia's No. 3 overall selection in Thursday's draft -- in exchange for Boston's turn at No. 1.
Sam Amick: Sense from involved parties in Boston-Philly talks is Cs are all in. Checking physicals, poised to give No. 1 for package centered on No. 3
While it is widely assumed in league circles that the Sixers would target Fultz with the No. 1 overall pick, sources say Philadelphia and Boston are likewise high on Kansas forward Josh Jackson.
Steve Kyler: I think Fultz is best guy, but Celtics have to build their team. Most NBA talent folks don't see a huge gap between Fultz/Ball/Jackson/Fox
Bobby Marks: Celtics could get to $29.5m ($800k below max) in room this July. Would only have 7 guaranteed contracts plus #3 pick on the roster.
Zach Lowe: In current parameters, BOS would receive several picks and no players, sources say. Have to think No. 3 would be involved.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Philadelphia is waiting on medical information on Markelle Fultz, but deep into talks on acquiring Boston's No. 1 overall pick.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Josh Jackson from Kansas has really moved himself into consideration a little bit in No. 1. He did cancel a workout with Boston. He is not going there yet. That could change, there's still time. But the Lakers have are really looking hard at Josh Jackson.
Josh Jackson has yet to workout for the Boston Celtics, but the possibility of him going to them at No. 1 has gained momentum. Markelle Fultz has widely been considered the probable first overall pick for several months.
"I've picked Danny's brain for years," one GM said. "Jackson is an Ainge player all the way. Tough, athletic, long, versatile, elite motor. If he's keeping the pick, Jackson just to me, far and away, is the most Celtics-type player for them to draft. From all my conversations with them, I'm convinced they'll take Jackson No. 1."
Q: On if he could see himself being a Laker: Fultz: For sure. I could see myself playing here. It’s a great city, a great team. A lot history behind this team. Q: On playing alongside a young core: Fultz: I thought about both. Being a young team, would pretty much feel like college again. But either/or. Coming to a young team or an old team, I’m just blessed to play the game.
Adam Zagoria: Projected No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz is expected to meet this week with the Lakers, per source. Has met with Celtics
Though the point guard finished his career at Washington with sterling numbers that included a 23.2 scoring average, the Huskies won just nine games. As such Fultz’ leadership potential has been debated. And that would be wrong, Ainge said. “I don’t know why we do that,” he said of tying a young prospect’s upside to winning. “Impacting winning takes more than one player. If you’re talking about 25-year-olds, or 22-year-olds coming out of college, then maybe there would be more emphasis put on that.”
“The difference between Jaylen and Markelle is that Markelle still put up great numbers,” said Ainge, turning to another sport for an analogy. “I liken it to Markelle being a quarterback on a bad football team, but still throwing for 400 yards a game,” Ainge said. “And Jaylen would have been the great wide receiver on a team that spent all of its time running the ball.”
While Markelle Fultz has been the top player on Boston’s draft board for a while, the Washington point guard isn’t the only player the Celtics are considering with the No. 1 overall pick, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford. Sources told Ford, who still has the C’s taking Fultz in his latest mock draft, that Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, De’Aaron Fox and Jayson Tatum also are in the mix.
Chris Forsberg: Did the Celtics tell Markelle Fultz he’d go No. 1? “No, no, no, they didn’t say that. They didn’t put that out there. I gotta earn everything. Just talking to them, we didn’t really talk about me getting drafted or anything like that, but more about me being a better young man, no matter where I go. Just what’s going to make me the best player I can possibly be.”
Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, the potential No. 1 pick of the NBA draft, said Tuesday that he has had multiple conversations with Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge since the draft combine earlier this month and that he is hopeful he will be selected first overall on June 22. "I've talked to Danny a few times, and they want to get me to come out there for a visit," Fultz told ESPN. "They just want to get a chance to know me better as a person."
"I want to be the No. 1 pick really bad," Fultz added. "It's been a dream of mine since I was a little kid, and I feel like I would fit well in Boston." Fultz said he has yet to firm up a day when he will visit the Celtics, who acquired the rights to the No. 1 pick through a 2013 trade with the Brooklyn Nets. He will likely work out for management and coaches. He did meet with Boston and a few other teams earlier this month while in Chicago before the draft combine.
Potential No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz told ESPN he has had multiple conversations with Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge since the draft combine earlier this month and is hopeful of being selected first in the June 22 NBA draft. "I've talked to Danny a few times, and they want to get me to come out there for a visit," Fultz told ESPN on Tuesday. "They just want to get a chance to know me better as a person."
"I want to be the No. 1 pick really bad," Fultz added. "It's been a dream of mine since I was a little kid, and I feel like I would fit well in Boston." Fultz said he has yet to firm up a day when he will visit the Celtics, and likely work out for management and coaches. He did meet with Boston and a few other teams earlier this month while in Chicago before the draft combine.
Or as another NBA player put it, "People don't realize it because they didn't get to watch him as much this year. I don't want to say he's a Russ-level athlete, but he's closer to that than not. If he went to the combine, which I'm not sure he'd ever have a reason to, but if he went, he'd test off the charts. He's just a f---ing freak." And as one scout says, "It's funny to me that so many people have tried to put the 'not a winner' stigma on him without ever getting to know him. If he were a BS kid, maybe you could blame Washington's struggles on him. But he's the furthest thing from that." Those last two answers are why he's the likely No. 1 pick.
Storyline: No. 1 pick
More HoopsHype Rumors
August 10, 2022 | 4:20 am EDT Update

LeBron James has productive, informative meeting with Rob Pelinka, Darvin Ham

James is finalizing a destination to host the team’s annual minicamp prior to training camp, with San Diego being the likely landing space over Las Vegas, sources said. He’s hoping to build a better rapport with teammates before entering the 2022-23 season. The meeting was deemed productive and informative. Pelinka made his feelings clear that he wants James to retire as a Laker and promised to provide him with every resource possible to compete for a championship each year he’s with the organization, sources said.
And while contract dialogue was broached, the majority of the hour-long meeting was about expressing concerns, and hearing out strategies and opinions to assure there wouldn’t be a repeat of last season’s epic failure, league sources told Yahoo Sports. James, sources said, drilled home the importance of consistent competitiveness and cohesion, noting that last season’s team didn’t give themselves a chance on many nights. The focus for the future Hall of Famer is competing every night in order to give themselves a chance to compete for a championship.
Do you get the sense that the Lakers are trying to make two separate trades using the firsts? One with Westbrook and one with Horton-Tucker/Nunn/etc.? — @crownroyalpapi_ Jovan Buha: Yes, insofar as I think the ultimate price to trade Westbrook will include attaching two first-round picks. If the Lakers can finagle an alternate outcome — be it a pick swap or two second-round picks — that’s a win for them, in my opinion. That seems unlikely, though, which is why there’s a possibility Westbrook isn’t traded. Between the two trades mentioned, the Lakers would prefer the Irving option. I think that’s a deal they’d eventually be willing to include two first-round picks for. I don’t think they’d be willing to do so in the Indiana deal.

Kyrie Irving agent: 'Kyrie does not hate Steve Nash nor Sean Marks'

Nets star Kyrie Irving wants to make it clear he does not hate coach Steve Nash or general manager Sean Marks despite what a source told The Post about his feelings Monday. “I am not sure where this narrative is coming from but Kyrie does not hate Steve nor Sean. That’s not a part of his being nor how he represents himself in the world. He’s about peace, love and acceptance,” his agent and stepmother Shetallia Riley Irving told The Post.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 353 more rumors