The Cleveland Cavaliers have spent parts of the last week conducting pre-draft workouts with a dozen players projected as either late second-round picks or undrafted free agents — Jordan Hall, Aaron Wiggins, A.J. Lawson, McKinley Wright, Tyson Etienne, Derek Culver, JaQuori McLaughlin, Zaccheus Darko-Kelly and Ansu Sesay, among others.
Darren Wolfson: Former Marquette & Ohio St. guard DJ Carton was in town for a workout with the #Timberwolves earlier this week. Next up is the G League Elite Camp in Chicago starting tomorrow. A good performance there can earn him an invite to the official Draft Combine.
It has been a busy week for Geo Baker. The Rutgers senior guard underwent a workout for the New York Knicks at their G-League facilities in White Plains, New York, on Thursday, a source told NJ Advance Media.
Josh Newman: Sources: Utah Valley big man Fardaws Aimaq will work out for the Knicks tomorrow. First pre-draft workout for Aimaq, who led the nation in rebounding last season.
Jake Weingarten: Nebraska forward Dalano Banton will workout with the Houston Rockets tomorrow afternoon, a source told @stockrisers. With good size and upside, Banton is a sneaky underrated draft prospect.
The Hornets are hosting six players Thursday at Spectrum Center for pre-draft workouts as they try to find the missing pieces that can help them make the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. This past season, Charlotte played its first postseason game since 2015-16, losing to the Indiana Pacers in the playoff’s play-in tournament. Players attending the Hornets’ Thursday workout are Armando Bacot (UNC), Jalen Crutcher (Dayton), Chandler Vaudrin (Winthrop), Yves Pons (Tennessee), Naziah Carter (Washington) and Marcus Carr (Minnesota).
Chris Grenham: The Celtics are hosting a noteworthy group of prospects for today’s pre-draft workout, per sources: Sharife Cooper, Auburn Jordan Hall, Texas A&M Miles McBride, West Virginia Kofi Cockburn, Illinois Nah’Shon Hyland, VCU Balsa Koprivica, Florida State
Darren Wolfson: Minneapolis native Jericho Sims had draft workouts scheduled yesterday and today with the Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings. Next week brings the Combine.
Adam Zagoria: Former @SetonHallMBB star @Mamukelashvili5 has now worked out for Utah, OKC and Charlotte with Detroit up Thursday
Matt L. Stephens: Former Dayton star Jalen Crutcher will be at the Hornets' pre-draft workout tomorrow in Charlotte. The 6-2 guard was a four-year starter and averaged 17.6 points and 4.8 assists as a senior. #AllyFly
Chris Grenham: Today’s Celtics pre-draft workout will include the following players, per sources: Derrick Alston Jr., Boise State Julian Champagnie, St. John’s AJ Lawson, South Carolina Tyson Etienne, Wichita State LJ Figueroa, Oregon
Adam Zagoria: Former @StJohnsBBall and @OregonMBB wing LJ Figueroa will work out for the Celtics tomorrow, per source
Adam Zagoria: St. John's F @JulianChampagn2 was invited to the NBA Combine and will work out for Boston tomorrow, per source. Has a couple other NBA team workouts scheduled. Will decide by July 7 whether to return to school or not.
Chris Grenham: Texas A&M’s Jordan Hall will work out with the Celtics on Thursday, per source. Hall recently transferred from St. Joseph’s to A&M.
Chris Grenham: Wichita State guard Tyson Etienne will go through a pre-draft workout with the Celtics tomorrow, per source. He’ll visit with the Knicks today.
Keith Smith: The Atlanta Hawks recently held a guard-heavy draft workout, per sources. Atlanta had in: -JaQuori McLaughlin (UC Santa Barbara) -Colbey Ross (Pepperdine) -Ethan Thompson (Oregon State) -Duane Washington Jr. (Ohio State)
Chris Grenham: The Celtics will host another pre-draft workout today, per source. A few of today’s participants: EJ Liddell, Ohio State Troy Baxter Jr., Morgan State MJ Walker, Florida State
Zach Padmore: Per his Instagram story, Nah'Shon "Bones" Hyland had a pre-draft workout with the Utah Jazz. One of the best three-point shooters in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Austin Peay swingman Terry Taylor has worked out for Golden State and Sacramento. The 6-foot-6 senior has workouts scheduled with the Grizzlies and Knicks next week and is expected to work out for 10-12 teams ahead of the 2021 NBA Draft.
Darren Wolfson: Ex-Michigan Wolverine and current Florida Gator Colin Castleton was in town earlier this week for a #Timberwolves draft workout. @Eric Fawcett first to note. Castleton next will workout for Grizzlies, Celtics, Bucks. He is maintaining college eligibility.
Darren Wolfson: Former Texas guard Matt Coleman was also among the draft prospects to workout for the #Timberwolves this week. The former 5-star recruit had a solid 4 year run in Austin.
Chris Grenham: Ohio State guard Duane Washington Jr. participated in the Celtics’ pre-draft workout on Thursday, per source. He has received a G League Elite Camp invite, which begins next weekend in Chicago prior to the NBA Draft Combine.
Chris Grenham: Houston’s Quentin Grimes participated in the Celtics pre-draft workout today, per source. Grimes played his freshman year at Kansas before heading to Houston.
Erik Fawcett: Colin Castleton worked out for the Minnesota Timberwolves today, one of a number of NBA pre-draft workouts he has scheduled.
Darren Wolfson: Ex-Cristo Rey HS stud & Mpls native Jericho Sims works out tomorrow for GSW, Kings next week, then will play in front of scouts at the Combine. He signed w/ Nate Daniels of @OneLegacySports, who is certified by NCAA. So he maintains college eligibility.
Connor Letourneau: Boise State's Derrick Alston Jr., UCSB's JaQuori McLaughlin, Shawnee State's EJ Onu, Texas' Jericho Sims, SDSU's Jordan Schakel and Colorado's McKinley Wright IV will work out for the Warriors tomorrow. Those are all second-round prospects or potential undrafted free agents.
Chris Grenham: NAIA All-American EJ Onu is among the prospects working out for the Celtics this week, according to a source. At 6’11” with a 7’6” wingspan, Onu led Shawnee State to a National Championship this past season. His athleticism will intrigue NBA front offices.
Chris Grenham: Texas guard Matt Coleman will participate in one of the Celtics’ pre-draft workouts this week, per source.
Wes Goldberg: The Warriors tomorrow will hold predraft workouts with Justin Gorham (Houston), Sam Hauser (Virginia), Dejon Jarreau (Houston), Eugene Omoruyi (Oregon), Jalen Tate (Arkansas) and Terry Taylor (Austin Peay). Mostly fringe second round picks and projected undrafted free agents.
Rob Schaefer: LaMelo Ball confirms Warriors, Timberwolves, Pistons and Hornets as only teams he worked out for in person. No to Bulls (@Ian Begley on the question)
Eric Walden: Texas Tech’s Jahmi’us Ramsey said he has not done a workout specifically for the Jazz. He did a Zoom workout that drew 22 times; not sure if the Jazz were on it. Said other than that, he’s not had any contact with the team.
Ian Begley: Stanford’s Tyrell Terry said he worked out in person for Brooklyn. He says he also worked out for Grizzlies. He’s had Zoom interviews with Knicks and Nets. @Mike Vorkunov reported there had been a possibility of a second Zoom w/NYK & Terry. That hasn’t taken place yet, Terry says.
Eric Walden: Stanford guard Tyrell Terry has done multiple Zoom interviews with the Utah Jazz; said his agent has been in contact: "I know there’s interest there. My camp has been in close contact." No workout with Utah; said he's only done 2 workouts because of COVID restrictions in Indy.
Ok, some real draft scuttle: the Bulls continue to stump the remainder of the NBA with their intentions at No. 4. Although Deni Avdija is a common match with Chicago, there are a number of conflicting rumors circulating around the league, the latest (and most fascinating) item being that the Bulls are interested in Patrick Williams. Per sources, Williams has worked out for Chicago. Beyond that, it’s still unclear what the actual interest level level is there. At this point, it’s worth naming every other player linked to Chicago, which includes Obi Toppin, Tyrese Haliburton, Killian Hayes and, in the event he’s on the board, LaMelo Ball.
Teams are permitted to conduct at their facilities group workouts of up to eight players in the leadup to training camp. Under HIPAA laws, the Knicks did not announce the identities of those who tested positive but sources indicated it was not any players. The staffers were under quarantine and reportedly asymptomatic. According to a source, the Knicks canceled a workout with point guard Killian Hayes last week because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
NBA teams are permitted to schedule 10 visits of up to 4.5 hours with draft-eligible players for in-person evaluations, interviews or medical evaluation. Five of the Heat’s 10 workouts have been confirmed though league sources or the prospects themselves: North Carolina guard Cole Anthony, Vanderbilt wing player Aaron Nesmith and power rotation players Precious Achiuwa (Memphis), Vernon Carey Jr. (Duke) and Zeke Nnaji (Arizona).
Anthony Slater: James Wiseman says he only worked out for the Warriors and Hornets. No Wolves or anyone below #3.
Austin Kent: James Wiseman worked out with and went out to dinner with the Charlotte Hornets, discussing his fit with the organization. CHA holds the No. 3 pick in Wednesday's draft.
Eric Walden: Arizona’s Josh Green confirms he worked out for the Utah Jazz last week. Says he spoke with Joe Ingles around the time of the workout to get a sense of the org. After going out to dinner with front office, he came away impressed with the structure of the organization.
Ian Begley: Arizona's Nico Mannion says he's had a Zoom interview with Brooklyn. No in-person workout for BKN or NYK. Mannion said the Raptors, Lakers and Jazz are among the teams he's had in-person workouts with.
Ian Begley: Arizona’s Zeke Nnaji says he’s worked out in person for the Heat, Jazz, Nuggets and Clippers, among other teams.
LaMelo Ball‘s private workouts with teams last week were strong, according to Givony, who suggests that the Warriors were among the teams impressed by what they saw from Ball. Still, Givony and other draft experts view James Wiseman as Golden State’s most likely pick at No. 2.
Chase Hughes: Likely top-10 pick Onyeka Okongwu (USC) is keeping the teams he's worked out for and interviewed with under wraps. Some prospects have been advised by their agents to do that.
Josh Robbins: Alabama guard Kira Lewis Jr. said on a Zoom call with reporters he worked out individually for the Magic. "Another great workout," Lewis said. "A lot of teaching points they showed me for my game: how to maybe block off a defender going to the rim."
Ben Anderson: Dennis Lindsey indicated the @UtahJazz haven't used all of their predraft workouts yet (they get 10.) Said they were saving some in case they got a late opportunity to workout someone unexpected.
KC Johnson: Kira Lewis Jr.'s workout and visit with the Bulls took place in Florida, where Lewis was based until recently returning home. Speaking on a Zoom call with reporters, Lewis said he enjoyed getting to know Bulls' brass and felt he showed his speed during his workout.
Chase Hughes: UNC guard Cole Anthony has worked out for the Wizards. Also, the Heat and Magic. He said he thought the Wizards workout went "really, really well."
“I talked to [Thibodeau] — he’s a great coach,’’ Vassell said when asked by The Post about his Knicks workout. “We talked about defense. We talked about what their team is looking for. I feel like I can help that team and fill that void. I just think everything went extremely well with the Knicks and the coach. It would be a blessing if I can be part of that team.’’
An alarming workout video recently surfaced online of Vassell heaving long jumpers with what appeared to be an awkwardly new shooting motion. Teams actually quizzed him about the video. “I’ve seen the video,’’ Vassell said. “I haven’t changed my jump shot. I feel there’s no reason to change my jump shot. It was end of the workout, and we were shooting it a lot deeper from the regular NBA 3-point line. It was the angle she took it. I caught the ball a lot further than I normally do. “But I’ve never attempted to change my jump shot and won’t change it because I’ve had a lot of success with the jump shot I have right now.’’
The Wizards held a workout with Precious Achiuwa last week, the Memphis big man revealed Thursday while meeting with the media ahead of next week's 2020 NBA Draft. Achiuwa has worked out for three teams, he says, with the Celtics and Heat being the others. He has also interviewed with many more teams over Zoom, including the Wizards earlier in the draft process.
Bleacher Report: LaMelo Ball worked out today for the Warriors, Hornets and Pistons, per @DraftExpress
Rod Beard: Killian Hayes says he's had a workout with the #Pistons. On playing with Sekou Doumbouya potentially: "It would be great having somebody you know and would help."
Chris Grenham: Devin Vassell said his zoom call and workout with the Celtics both went really well. "They showed some interest. ... Me being able to talk to them and show them what I've been working on over the last 6-7 months, I think it really helped."
Jeff McDonald: French point guard Theo Maldon says the Spurs are one of four teams for whom he has conducted a pre-draft workout. Brooklyn, Boston and Toronto are the others.
The Knicks have also worked out Villanova wing Saddiq Bey, according to league sources. He could slide into the back end of the lottery, but presents an intriguing option at the position with his physical profile and after shooting 45 percent on 5.6 3s per game his sophomore season. He could be an option if the Knicks trade down from No. 8.
Hoop Central: LaMelo Ball had an individual workout today with the Minnesota Timberwolves, via @DraftExpress.
Chase Hughes: Possible No. 1 NBA Draft pick Anthony Edwards (Georgia) says he has worked out for the Timberwolves, Warriors and Hornets. That's it, and those are the teams with the top three picks. Not surprising. He's going to go very high, if not first.
Wes Goldberg: Anthony Edwards on his work out with the Warriors in Atlanta: "It was a good workout. It was learning lesson, I learned a lot. That work out changed my mindset. ... Just the advice that they gave me, I feel like it changed my mindset."
Middleton, a two-time All-Star, and the 21-year-old Nesmith not only hail from Charleston, S.C., but also attended the same high school, Porter-Gaud. Some scouts tag Nesmith as the top 3-point shooter in the draft, but his standing isn’t as a high lottery pick. He was injured in his sophomore season, suffering a stress fracture in his right foot that limited him to 14 games. “We compare him to Khris Middleton,’’ Stackhouse told The Post in an email Sunday. “He’s perfect for the wing spot. He has the size. He has the strength and in addition to being a shooter, he is dedicated to the defensive side as well.”
Barry Jackson: I'm told the Heat conducted a private workout with Duke power forward/center Vernon Carey Jr., last week, after interviewing him the day before. Miami has been focusing on several big men in its 10 permitted pre-draft workouts.
Kira Lewis Jr. is widely expected to be selected in the first round of 2020 NBA draft. Known for his blazing speed, Lewis averaged 18.5 points, 5.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 36.6 from 3-point range as a sophomore at Alabama, before electing to turn pro. Teams that have visited Lewis for in-person workouts include Detroit, Chicago, New York, Phoenix, Orlando and Minnesota. Many mock drafts have him going in the No. 10-20 range.
Tony Jones: The Utah Jazz have recently worked out University of Arizona shooting guard Josh Green, League Sources tell The Athletic....
Kira Lewis Jr. is gaining steam, earning workouts for the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks. Sources tell Bleacher Report the Phoenix Suns have a lot of interest as well.
Though Heat officials have not been flying all over the country to use their 10 maximum permitted pre-draft visits, they have shown interest in working out several prospects beyond Arizona center Zeke Nnaji, who auditioned for them Oct. 25. Among others with whom they’ve broached a potential workout: Kentucky combo guard Immanuel Quickley and Texas Tech shooting guard Jahmi’us Ramsey. Both are skilled shooters and both already have done Zoom sessions with the Heat. Quickley, in fact, has interviewed twice with Miami, according to a source.
Miami also was expected to view a group workout for Minnesota center Daniel Oturu and Arizona point guard Nico Mannion, both projected to possibly go in the 20s or 30s. And Miami has done a Zoom session with College of Charleston point guard Grant Riller, another strong shooter projected to go in the late 20s or 30s. (Miami doesn’t have a second-round pick.) Riller averaged 21.9 points and shot 36.2 percent on three-pointers as a senior last season.
Surprisingly, as of midday Friday, the Heat hadn’t asked for a workout with Duke forward/center Vernon Carey Jr., even though he’s living and working out in South Florida. Carey is projected by some to go in the 20s, but his father — the former Dolphins and UM standout offensive lineman — believes he will go sooner. Some mock drafts have him falling into the second round.
Though Heat officials have not been flying all over the country to use their 10 maximum permitted pre-draft visits, they have shown interest in working out several prospects beyond Arizona center Zeke Nnaji, who auditioned for them Oct. 25. Among others with whom they’ve broached a potential workout: Kentucky combo guard Immanuel Quickley and Texas Tech shooting guard Jahmi’us Ramsey.
Both are skilled shooters and both already have done Zoom sessions with the Heat. Quickley, in fact, has interviewed twice with Miami, according to a source.
Though mock drafts have predicted Quickley to go late in the first round or somewhere in the second, some believe the 6-3 guard could end up going in Miami’s range at 20, and the Heat is showing a lot of interest. One NBA evaluator told me he thought the 30s was more realistic, but there are some people in the industry who like him earlier than that.
There are NBA Draft projections that have TCU shooting guard Desmond Bane going somewhere in the depths of the second round. We don’t see it that way, and indications from the Dallas Mavericks are that they value Bane more highly as well, as two sources tell us the Mavs are “hosting” Bane for a pre-draft visit.
LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton, and Killian Hayes have generated the most buzz among point guards. But Kira Lewis Jr. has seemingly entered the conversation as a potential riser and option for lottery teams. After a workout with the Orlando Magic last Thursday, sources tell Bleacher Report that Lewis worked out for the New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls this week. "Lewis has great speed, creates for himself and others and should thrive in today's game," one scout told B/R. "He's still young [he turned 19 in April] after two years in college. He has upside."
Ian Begley: From earlier: Kira Lewis Jr.'s workout is one of 10 in-person workouts NYK has attended/will attend, sources confirm. Several teams project Lewis Jr. much higher than he's been in some mock drafts; top CHA decision-makers watched James Wiseman in person: sny.tv/articles/knick…
Another draft note: top-ranking Charlotte Hornets officials recently watched former Memphis center James Wiseman work out in person, per SNY sources. The Charlotte Observer previously reported that the club had strong interest in Wiseman. The Hornets, per sources, aren't the only team with a top-10 pick who are enamored with Wiseman.
A note on the Knicks and the 2020 NBA Draft: New York recently saw former Alabama point guard Kira Lewis Jr. work out in person, SNY sources confirm. Lewis, one of the top point guards in the draft, had previously interviewed with the Knicks over a Zoom call, as SNY reported.
September 25, 2022 | 7:41 pm EDT Update
Russell Westbrook was wearing a bucket hat, flip-flops and a smile inside the conference room in his Avenue of the Stars offices. Trade talks stalled, training camp on the cusp and Westbrook hardly had to consider the question: Do you feel wanted by the Los Angeles Lakers? “I don’t need to,” Westbrook told ESPN recently. “I need to just do my job. Whether I’m wanted or not doesn’t really matter. I think the most important thing is that I show up for work and I do the job like I’ve always done it: Be professional and go out and play my ass off and compete.”
Westbrook spoke of getting back to work in the gym sooner in the past offseason than he has ever done in his career, about a summer full of conversations with Lakers coach Darvin Ham, about a “connection” and “trust” with Ham’s vision to utilize him in a way that impacts winning on these Lakers. Maybe that’s as a starter or maybe it’s off the bench. “I’m all-in on whatever it takes for this team to win,” Westbrook said. “I’m prepared for whatever comes my way.”
He sure isn’t here to tell you that his and the Lakers’ debacle of a season caused him to have to fight to keep his confidence. “No, I didn’t have to fight that,” Westbrook said. “I had to fight my response on how it affects the people close to me. To me, that was the important part. Confidence is not something I lack. Yes, there were times last season that I wanted to play better — that I should’ve played better — but my confidence never wavers. Having bad games is part of the NBA, and I understand that. The only thing it affected for me was the impact that it had on the people closest to me — my mom, dad, wife, brother, close friends. We’ve never had to deal with that as a family. That was the most difficult thing — being booed in the arena and having my kids there.”
Shams Charania: Sources: The Lakers plan to sign G/F Matt Ryan on a non-guaranteed deal. Four-year NBA veteran Dwayne Bacon is also working toward training camp deal with the Lakers. Ryan was with the Celtics on a two-way last season.