McDonough, in an interview on ESPN2’s NBA Draft Combine special on Friday, said the Suns haven’t ruled out the option of dealing away the No. 1 pick in June’s draft for a lower pick or even a worthy veteran. “We’re certainly open to that. We’ll consider it,” McDonough said. “Obviously, we’ll have more information closer to the draft than we do today, after we go through the workout process and the interview process and we get the medical physicals. So we’re open to that.”
The Suns have decisions beyond the No. 1, as they own four picks in June's draft: two each in the first round (Nos. 1 and 16) and the second round (Nos. 31 and 59). "I think a lot of what we do at 16 will be predicated with what we do at No. 1," McDonough said. "And it wouldn't make sense to draft guys at the same positions or similar positions at 1 and 16. So if we go with a big at 1, probably a perimeter player at 16 or vice versa.”
Ryan McDonough: “Another option we may have available given the number of assets we've accumulated, given the additional first-round picks we have coming from Milwaukee and Miami and the 31st pick -- the first pick in the second round -- we'll look at packaging to move up potentially, as well, if there's a player in the mid-to-late lottery that we like."
Luka Doncic, who is entering the draft this year (and) hadn’t yet informed of his departure to the American league, did so at the end of the game in the press zone: “Yes, to say goodbye winning the tenth (Euroleague for Real Madrid) would be very special”, said Doncic.
Of special interest is the effect that newly hired Suns coach Igor Kokoskov will have on the decision. Kokoskov was the head coach of the Slovenian national team last year in its run to the gold medal in the EuroBasket tournament — which featured Doncic averaging 14.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists in nine games. That’s led to speculation that Kokoskov would push the Suns to draft Doncic. But sources familiar with the Suns’ thinking told Sporting News on Thursday that’s just not the case.
In fact, look for Phoenix to insulate Kokoskov from the decision, and to put it squarely in the lap of GM Ryan McDonough. That’s not to say Kokoskov won’t have any input, but the Suns do not want to put pressure on their new head coach by leaving the impression that he lobbied for or against Doncic, an impression that could hamstring him even before he started on his new job. “He is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t,” one source said. “If he pushes for Doncic and they take him, then anything that happens with Doncic or Ayton from there is on him. No team wants to put their coach in that situation. No coach wants to be in that situation. They’re going to avoid that like the plague.”
Eddie Sefko: Donnie Nelson on what he expects to happen ahead of Mavericks, who pick 5th in NBA draft: "I don’t know. I would say (Deandre) Ayton for sure and after that, beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
McDonough said he’s not concerned that the Suns won’t be able to work out Doncic because he’ll be playing in the Liga ACB, the top professional basketball division of the Spanish basketball league, through June. The Suns already have seen Doncic play in person several times, and McDonough plans to head to Europe in the next few weeks to get another look at the Slovenian guard. “If anything, it makes it easier for us to evaluate him in real time against high-level competition,” McDonough said. “We view that as a benefit.”
So whom will the Suns take at No. 1? McDonough said again Thursday that the decision won’t come until the days leading up to the June 21 draft. He also said Phoenix’s candidate list stretches beyond Ayton and Doncic. He specifically mentioned Duke’s Marvin Bagley III and Texas’ Mohamed Bamba, and said Phoenix would interview between five to 10 players for the top pick.
Scott Bordow: Mohamed Bamba on if he should be considered for top pick: “Absolutely I should be the No. 1 pick. I do more but I require less, both on the court and off the court. I feel as if I’m the most efficient guy in this draft class.”
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.
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.”
Scott Bordow: Had a very brief conversation with Deandre Ayton following the lottery. His agent was rushing him out of the room but he told me he'd love to be drafted by the Suns and play alongside Booker
Brian Mahoney: Suns were fourth straight team with best odds to win the #NBADraftLottery, after worst team had previously gone 10 straight years without winning. Tanking really paid off in the final years of this format.
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.
The Suns finally hit the jackpot in the NBA draft lottery. Phoenix won Tuesday’s lottery and for the first time in franchise history will have the No. 1 pick in the draft, to be held June 21.
“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."
Chris Vivlamore: BTW, Hawks GM Travis Schlenk was in Spain over the weekend, likely there to see Luka Doncic.
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."
Goran Dragic praised Luka Doncic after the quarterfinal won against Latvia. “Luka? He is a star, but he is still a kid. As his roommate I can say that he still watches cartoons and Friends.
Keith Pompey: No surprise here. The #Sixers select @Markelle Fultz with the first overall pick. #NBAdraft2017
Marc J. Spears: The @Philadelphia 76ers have officially selected @Markelle Fultz with the first pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, source told @TheUndefeated.
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.”
The Boston Celtics announced today that they have acquired the third overall selection of the 2017 NBA Draft and the favorably-protected rights to a future first round pick from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the first overall pick in this year’s draft.
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.
Mark Murphy: Source confirms that trade with Philly likely to be announced Monday. C's get No. 3 and Boston-friendly protection on 2018 Lakers pick.
Mark Murphy: Re source, Celtics would have option to obtain 2019 Kings pick if 2018 Lakers pick is too low.
The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics have agreed on a deal that will send the overall number one pick in next Thursday’s Draft to Philly in exchange for the third overall pick and at least one future first-round pick, per a league source. Barring some 11th-hour change of heart, the deal is set to be finalized on Monday.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sixers needed Fultz workout/meeting to complete deal w/ Celtics and, as expected, sides have deal for No. 1 pick. Trade call planned Monday.
Adam Himmelsbach: According to league source, Celtics will receive the No. 3 overall pick this year & a protected future first-round pick from Philly, not two
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.
Chris Forsberg: Ainge in 2015 on if there’s such thing as too many picks: "No, because picks are always tradable; players are not. Picks are always assets."
Keith Pompey: Word out of Boston is that #Sixers and #Cetlics may come to an agreement but trade won't be done until draft night.
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.
Steve Bulpett: Personal feeling is that Celtics-Philly deal is close, but momentum could be lost if it drags out too long. Minds could change.
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.
Adam Himmelsbach: Source told me yesterday Cs have had countless trade talks in June. Sometimes the ones that are leaked seem more imminent, but might not be.
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.
Steve Kyler: So hearing the three this year, a future 76ers first and Lakers 2018 on the table to Celtics for the number one... thats a ton of value
Tom Moore: Interesting thing is I had a league source tell me recently that 'Bryan doesn't like dealing with' Ainge.
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: Boston would create $1.4m in cap space in 17-18 for swapping #1 for #3. #1 pick= $7.0m #3 pick= $5.6m
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.
Marc Stein: League sources tell @Zach Lowe and me that the Sixers and Celtics are in serious talks on a trade involving the No. 1 overall pick.
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: Deal talks are far enough along that Fultz could be on his way to Philadelphia for a meeting Saturday, sources say.
Fultz called the workout at the Lakers' practice facility a "family decision," adding "Never know where I might land, so I just wanted to see how it is out here." As for his preference on where he'd like to be drafted, Fultz said, "I would like to go one [to the Celtics], but wherever I land is where I go."
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."
"We like him a lot," the Celtics source said about Jackson. "But we like several guys a lot. We've got a week to figure it out."
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.