NBA rumors: Dubs not interested in LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman

The NBA draft lottery won’t be held until May 19 at the earliest, but the Warriors are on track to select no later than fifth. According to multiple league sources The Chronicle contacted in the past few days, the Warriors — contrary to what mock drafts might suggest — aren’t believed to be high on two of the three players being mentioned as possibilities at the No. 1 pick: former Memphis center James Wiseman and point guard LaMelo Ball, who last played for the Illawarra Hawks of Australia’s National Basketball League. As one source put it, “I think they’d only take one of those two if they were trading down in the draft and taking them for another team.”

More on No. 1 pick

“I think I should go number one, no doubt,” Edwards told 247Sports. “That’s the only place I think I should go.” Edwards signed this week with Octagon agent Omar Wilkes for his professional representation, per multiple sources. Wilkes has represented top 10 picks -- Trae Young and Cam Reddish -- in each of the past two NBA Drafts.
In his first interview since leaving school to turn professional, Wiseman told ESPN that he cried every night in his dormitory room during the turbulent episode with the NCAA, ultimately leaving school amid a 12-game suspension for rules violations that Wiseman insists he hadn't been aware occurred. "I was really in the middle of a hurricane," Wiseman told ESPN in an interview that aired Friday. "That's like the worst place you could possibly be. Just having the mental agony and the suffering, crying every night because I just wanted to get on the court so much."
Wiseman signed with Excel Sports for his professional representation and remains a strong possibility to become the No. 1 overall pick. "I wanted to have a great collegiate career," Wiseman told ESPN. "I wanted to win a national championship. But throughout the course of the first two games, everything started to go down in terms of my mental [well-being]. I was getting depressed. It was dehumanizing for me.”
Wiseman cited an inability to pay back the $11,500 and the threat of potential injury as reasons for ending his college career prematurely. "It was a bit surreal because I couldn't use a GoFundMe page that [ESPN's] Jay Williams put out for me, obviously," Wiseman told ESPN. "I couldn't use any outside sources. I had to get [the money] on my own, and that was pretty impossible because I didn't have the money. I was just a regular college student."

http://twitter.com/TommyBeer/status/1230570387810942976
LaVar says he not only stands by his decisions to take LaMelo Ball out of high school in the United States (he went to Lithuania and Australia) ... but says he's convinced Melo will be the #1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Ball says his dream would be for the NY Knicks to hire Mark Jackson as the next head coach -- who would then take Melo with their first pick. In fact, Ball says he sees a world in which all 3 of his sons sign with the Knicks and play in Madison Square Garden. He thinks his fam can save the franchise.
Having said that, one executive recently did make a case to me that it would be worthwhile for Ball to return if he gets 100 percent healthy. As noted previously, not many high-level NBA decision-makers have been out to Australia to see Ball in person yet. If he was to return, let NBA teams know that he’d be playing ahead of time, and play exceedingly well in front of high-level decision-makers at the top of the draft, it could create a real sense of momentum for him entering the pre-draft process. Because he’s in a situation that gives him freedom and spacing to do what he wants on the court with Illawarra, it’s seen as being a better opportunity to help himself than Anthony.
Matt Babcock, owner of Babcock Hoops and a former NBA agent, told The Commercial Appeal that Wiseman having to sit out one-third of Memphis' regular season isn't all that significant from an NBA draft standpoint. "It's not like he's a guy that just has a lot of upside with a lot of polishing to do. He's ready to play in the NBA right now," Babcock said. "Not that he doesn't have room for growth. He does. (But) I think it's more of just he's being robbed of the experience." Babcock believes Wiseman (who is tied with North Carolina's Cole Anthony as FanDuel Sportsbook's odds-on favorite to be picked first) is worthy of No. 1-pick status. But the games he will miss could also cost him the opportunity to cement himself as such.
So, does Ball believe he should be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft? “Most definitely. I believe in myself and I’ve worked hard to get here,” Ball told Yahoo Sports. “The other guys at the top of the draft, James [Wiseman] and Anthony [Edwards], are very talented too. But just in the way I believe in myself, I think I’m the top pick.”
A lot of people in the basketball world are believers, too. “I don’t see any way where LaMelo doesn’t go No. 1,” an NBL team executive told Yahoo Sports. “He sees the floor better than anyone, and his passing and shooting is like nothing I’ve seen before.”
So, does LaMelo Ball believe he should be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft? “Most definitely. I believe in myself and I’ve worked hard to get here,” Ball told Yahoo Sports. “The other guys at the top of the draft, James [Wiseman] and Anthony [Edwards], are very talented too. But just in the way I believe in myself, I think I’m the top pick.”
A few NBA scouts made the trip to New Zealand to see Ball play against potential first-round draft pick RJ Hampton and were impressed with what they saw. “This is LaMelo’s first real competition in his career,” an NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. “The fact that he’s putting up numbers like this in a league full of former NBA players is forcing every team to look at him as a potential No. 1 pick.”
Contrary to some rumors, LaMelo told Yahoo Sports he is staying in Australia for the entire season despite his team’s last-place record of 3-9. “I don’t know where that rumor came from, but when I decided to come play over here, I committed to the whole season. I’m not leaving early,” he told Yahoo Sports.
While it’s clear Ball will end up an early selection in a relatively thin lottery, there are echoes of skepticism tied to his candidacy at No. 1. “[The No. 1 pick] shooting sub-40% from the field and sub-30% from three? That’s crazy,” one Western Conference executive emphasized. For all his highlight-caliber plays and big totals, Ball is shooting 38.9% from the field and just 27.9% on threes as of Monday, in addition to 70% on less than four free throw attempts per game. He shot 1-of-11 from three during Saturday’s triple-double against the Breakers and fellow projected lottery pick R.J. Hampton. Watch Ball play and you can tell he’s improved, but the greater statistical sample at the end of the season will tell a big part of the story.
An area in which there are still many questions, though, comes off the court. While the attachment to his father, LaVar, will always hang over him, it’s not the only area scouts and general managers have hesitations. In a piece on Sunday in which DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz discussed which prospect should top the 2020 NBA Draft big board, Givony talked about NBA teams being uncertain about whether they can trust Ball to lead the franchise. However, I believe that if the draft were held today, (Ball) probably would not be the No. 1 pick. Of course, that will heavily depend on the team that ends up winning the May lottery. But both Schmitz and I have just received a significant amount of blowback from NBA teams who say that they simply don’t trust Ball enough to hand him the keys to their franchise. They worry about what all the attention around him will do to their team culture, how strong his work ethic is and whether his father, LaVar, could become a distraction.
As NBA executives flock to college games to evaluate talent, the NCAA campaign so far has been overshadowed by the eligibility questions surrounding Memphis forward/center James Wiseman, the potential No. 1 overall pick in next June’s draft. Scouts and others would love to see him play, but NBA executives have told The Athletic that Wiseman’s draft stock is solidified from a talent perspective and that there is no sense he will fall out of the lottery picks, even should he miss the rest of the season. “Will him sitting the year impact him a spot or two? Maybe,” one high-ranking team official said. “But it isn’t impacting his financial base. He is known as a talent.”
Jeff Borzello: Penny Hardaway to ESPNU on why James Wiseman played: "That's just up to the school. We're just going to go about it legally moving forward. James has a right to do what he did, and we're moving forward." On whether he has a response to the NCAA's mid-game statement: "I do not."
The NCAA has officially addressed the situation, releasing its own statement on Friday evening in response to Memphis’ decision to let Wiseman play after being notified that he was "likely ineligible." “The University of Memphis was notified that James Wiseman is likely ineligible,” the statement read. “The university chose to play him and ultimately is responsible for ensuring its student-athletes are eligible to play.”
The Australian NBL would be interested in adding projected No. 1 NBA Draft pick James Wiseman if he’s declared ineligible for the season at Memphis. One source with the NBL told Forbes SportsMoney the situation “is a bit complicated with legal action” but that Wiseman would be “a logical fit for the NBL if he was interested.”
In a statement, NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said of interest in Wiseman: “Potentially, but it hasn't even been a discussion yet. These decisions require a lot of due diligence on both sides to ensure it's in everyone's best interests. He's exceptionally talented and of course we'd be interested, but honestly we haven't even had a conversation with him or his family. I have no idea yet as to whether or not it would suit his plans, his personality or his aspirations.”
Andy Katz: James Wiseman playing tonight. Statement from @Memphis_MBB:

https://twitter.com/TheAndyKatz/status/1192944298230239232
Memphis attorney Leslie Ballin announced Friday the Tigers’ star freshman James Wiseman has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA. Ballin also said Friday that a Shelby County court judge ruled to put a hold on the NCAA's ruling, pending further litigation. Wiseman will be eligible to play Friday night vs. Illinois-Chicago.
Jeff Goodman: James Wiseman moved from Nashville to Memphis and played for Penny Hardaway at Memphis East his junior and senior years in high school. Also played for Penny in AAU ball. NCAA deeming Penny a booster for helping to pay moving expenses.
Jeff Goodman: James Wiseman is considered the frontrunner to be the No. 1 pick in June’s NBA draft. He is also the key to Memphis’ Final Four hopes. Timing is strange for the decision as Wiseman played and was dominant in season-opener.
Shams Charania: Top three picks in 2019 NBA draft are set, per sources: 1. Zion Williamson, Pelicans 2. Ja Morant, Grizzlies 3. RJ Barrett, Knicks Pelicans hold cards at No. 4.
Zion delivers amazing rim-rattling slams, but it's his defensive versatility and willingness to work on that end that makes him the ideal modern big prospect, with the 1-through-5 switchability of Draymond Green. Williamson even produced a 7.2 defensive box plus-minus in his lone season at Duke -- identical to Green's defensive impact as a senior at Michigan State. In the NBA, Green has consistently ranked among the most effective stoppers in the league according to ESPN's defensive real plus-minus despite his size.
We've never seen a 285-pounder who can sky for dunks quite like Williamson, but Griffin (248 pounds as a 20-year-old) was a close replica. Like college Griffin (6-11 wingspan), Williamson is a power dunker set to tear down the rim on every attempt, doing so despite mediocre positional length. He seems to get just as much lift off one leg or two and is challenging for any shot-blocker to challenge when he gets to his launching pad. But it's not just the dunks that make these two similar.
Williamson was the darling of college basketball last season with his high-flying dunks, underrated passing, dominating rebounding, diverse scoring and all-out effort at Duke. And word is that Williamson was excited and very much at home during his recent two-day trip to New Orleans to visit the Pelicans. The 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward, along with his parents, dined with Benson, Griffin, head coach Alvin Gentry and Saints and Pelicans president Dennis Lauscha at the world-renowned Commander’s Palace restaurant. The Pelicans loved his down-to-earth attitude and believed he was wholeheartedly interested in being there.
Scott Kushner: The Pelicans’ top brass loved basically everything they’ve learned about Zion Williamson on background, & raved about meeting with him & family in Chicago. This week’s visit to New Orleans is a chance for Zion to cement all of those fond notions and lock down No. 1 pick.
What were your thoughts when all of the stories popped up post-Draft Lottery about Zion not wanting to be in New Orleans and him potentially going back to Duke to avoid being there? Lee Sartor: I thought that didn’t make any sense. I know Zion and I know his heart and I know how hard he’s worked to put himself in position to be able to play in the NBA one day. Going backwards was never in his mindset. I know Zion is appreciative of the process and I believe no matter who drafts him that he would be happy and ready to go out and do what he can to help make that franchise better.
What do you think when people compare him to LeBron James? Lee Sartor: Everybody wants to be compared to someone, especially someone that’s great. But I believe Zion is one of those guys that transcends the game, one of those generational players. He has some attributes that are similar to LeBron and some other players, but when you watch him play, he does Zion Williamson stuff. That’s the only way to describe it. That’s what you really want to be as a player; you want to be your own person.
New team vice president David Griffin, who dealt with Paul when he was the general manager of the Cavaliers and LeBron James (Paul's primary client) played in Cleveland, has tried to smooth things over with Klutch Sports and the Pels. His attempts at talking Davis into staying in New Orleans have more to do with resetting relations with Paul than it does with actually keeping Davis in town, which is a longshot. There are many within the Pelicans organization who are still embittered by the way Paul manipulated Davis last season, particularly coach Alvin Gentry, and having Williamson lined up with Paul would have opened wounds that are only recently healed. That won't be a problem with CAA.
Shams Charania: Sources: Zion Williamson met in Chicago with the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies, the top two teams in the Draft lottery. Williamson had a positive meeting with New Orleans and prior to lottery, he cited Pelicans as a targeted team to start career.
He’s arguably the most marketable star to enter the NBA since LeBron James in 2003, and his shoe deal has potential to set records for a draftee, according to sources around the league. His presence will help attendance, merchandise sales, and more, something that is important for the team that finished 25th in overall attendance this past season. I would expect the Pelicans to get an awful lot of nationally televised games, because Williamson will be one of the biggest on-court stories worth tracking in his first season in the NBA. That source of discussion will bring a genuine amount of cash flow into the Pelicans organization.
"He does have some options. I'm not saying he's going to pick these options, but he has not signed with an agent and he has not signed a shoe deal yet," Windhorst explained. "He could threaten to go back to Duke." He also noted that "it's a conversation that's happening in the NBA right now."
Both Windhorst and Richard Jefferson predicted this would be unlikely, although Rachel Nichols compared it to Eli Manning pushing his way to the New York Giants on draft day after saying he wouldn't play for the San Diego Chargers.
After the lottery, Griffin acknowledged to reporters that having the no. 1 pick affords the franchise more flexibility in the coming months. There’s less pressure to deal Davis now. The Pelicans can play it slow, going into the season with a core of AD, Zion, and Jrue Holiday, and see how things play out. If February 2020 rolls around and Davis still wants to leave, the team could trade him before the deadline for a haul. If Davis’s true reason for originally wanting out was to compete for a championship, how many teams can he now find with more long-term potential than the Pelicans? “He’s wanted to win this whole time and he felt compelled to try to win elsewhere. I think if you look at the totality of where this organization is and where we’re going, we feel very strongly that we’re going to be the environment he wants to be part of,” Griffin said. “And if we’re not, that’s fine; we can deal with it from there. But I’m looking at this, believing that there’s no reason he wouldn’t want to win with us, because that’s what we do. It’s who we are. And I think culturally we’re about all the same things.”
Ben Golliver: Pelicans' Alvin Gentry on their thought process with the number one pick: "Well, we're going to see.... Yeah, right." Said of New Orleans delegation's Tuesday night celebration plans: "They're going to get a big receipt."
Marc J. Spears: Zion Williamson was QUICKLY whisked out of the room after Pelicans were announced the winner of the draft lottery. Source said the former Duke star was rooting to go to New York, but now is going to New Orleans.
Ben Golliver: Pelicans' Alvin Gentry on the "What position does Zion play? question: "I'm glad we'll have that problem. Giannis plays all 5. KD. Golden State has made this a pass, cut and relocate league."
Ben Golliver: Before drawing, Alvin Gentry wrote on a sheet of paper, "This is our moment." David Griffin had predicted victory & gave him lucky Zegna tie from Cleveland. Gentry's reaction to win: "F--- yeah!" Later said of Griffin's luck: "That's worth the hire. Ms. B knows what she's doing."
Kevin O'Connor: Alvin Gentry yelled “fuck yeah” when the Pelicans won the no. 1 pick during the lottery drawing. Then he stood up and stuck his arms out like “are you not entertained?” Then he said sorry. No reason to apologize: Zion Williamson will be with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Adam Zagoria: The Pelicans win the Zion Sweepstakes. Here's the draft order:

http://twitter.com/AdamZagoria/status/1128462966838431747
Anthony Davis would certainly consider re-signing with the Knicks if he felt he could be successful in New York, per SNY sources familiar with the matter. And here's how a Davis to New York trade could work: Since the goal would likely be to pair Davis with two other stars, the Knicks would first sign their two max free agents in early July, using nearly all of their $70-plus million in cap space. They would then have to send out roughly $21.6 million in salary to satisfy NBA trade rules in a swap for Davis, who is making $27 million in 2019.
There are different ways to get to $21.6 million, but the easiest way to get there is to include their 2019 first-round pick. (The No. 1 pick can earn $9.7 in his first season.) It's worth noting, however, that there is no consensus among the Knicks as to whether they would include the 2019 No. 1 pick in a deal for Davis or any other star.
The Knicks, Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns each have a 14 percent chance of landing the top pick on Tuesday night. All three clubs also have a 40 percent chance of landing a top-three pick and a 52 percent chance of landing a top-four pick. The Knicks will pick no lower than fifth since they finished with the league's worst record (17-65). Perry on Monday said, no matter where the Knicks land, their meetings with individual draft prospects will play a key role in whom they decide to select.
There’s understandably a lot of buzz heading into the lottery to see which team secures the No. 1 pick and the right to choose Williamson, who is the most heralded draft prospect in years. But nothing compares to the drama of the 2003 lottery, when LeBron James was the ultimate prize and the Cleveland Cavaliers were one of the teams in the mix for the Akron, Ohio, native. “It’s not even close, even with social media today,” James’ former agent Aaron Goodwin told The Undefeated. “I can only imagine what it would have been like for James with social media because he was a game-changer.
Stu Jackson, who was NBA executive vice president of basketball operations at the time, remembers watching James during his senior year. “I said to myself that I have never seen anything like that from a player that young to be that dominant both physically and skillwise at that age,” Jackson said. “That is no reflection on my evaluation skills, because the great ones are easy to pick out. But this was a different level.” Joe Dumars, who was the president of the Detroit Pistons and had a particular interest in the lottery (more on that later), marveled at James’ maturity, body and athleticism. Simply put, “I saw a transcendent player,” Dumars said.
Boeheim said the “greatest thing’’ about Williamson is his defensive tenacity. But the coach wondered whether Williamson, who has an average 3-point shot and is a mediocre free-throw shooter, can be dominant in the NBA playoffs. The Knicks, a team Boeheim said he watches regularly, have a 14 percent chance of winning Tuesday’s lottery for the first pick in this year’s draft. Coach David Fizdale said the Knicks already “know’’ which player they will take if they get the No. 1 selection. “Over the course of the regular season, [Williamson will] be a hard guard to defend and handle,’’ said Boeheim, whose program, which has been in the ACC since 2013, faces Duke regularly. “I think when it comes to playoff basketball, he’s going to have to expand his game a little bit. There’s a lot of size in the NBA, people forget there’s a lot of big, strong guys in the NBA. In college, he was by far the strongest, toughest guy to me in college basketball.”
Knicks coach David Fizdale confirmed what we've all assumed for months: if New York wins the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night, the club will pick Duke sensation Zion Williamson. "If we win the lottery, do we know who we're taking?" the Knicks coach said in an interview with the "Dan Patrick Show." "Yes." Patrick then jokingly said, "OK, let's bring out Zion Williamson" and Fizdale laughed.
Fizdale was asked by Patrick if Williamson or Murray State point guard Ja Morant -- a presumptive top-three pick -- would fit New York's roster. "I think just for us, our roster is so open from that standpoint that we can have a lot of things fit us right now," Fizdale said. "Obviously, we always want the biggest talent. You want to see electric players. And both of those guys are that."
On Friday at rookie minicamp, Daniel Jones, who was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, admitted he and Williamson have recently discussed that possibility and what it would mean to take over as the faces of New York sports. “We talked a little bit about that this week, actually. That’d be a cool deal,” Jones told reporters. “But we’ll see what happens. He’s a special guy.”
John Gambadoro: Some reports yesterday that the Suns would prefer Ja Morant over Zion Williamson are totally off base. If the Suns did get the #1 pick it would be Zion. If they get #2 it's Ja and if a team like Atlanta gets #2 they may try and trade with them to get Ja because that team has a PG.
Bobby Marks: Projected salary for the no. 1 pick in the June 20 Draft: 2019/20- $9.74M 2020/21- $10.23M 2021/22- $10.71M (team option) 2022/23- $13.51M (team option) Total $44.2M
Adam Zagoria: Knicks coach David Fizdale tells @RealMichaelKay he is not trying to get his hopes up for Zion. “I’m really prepared for whoever we get. I just know that we’re going to get a young talent who’s going to add to the pot and we’ll keep building from there.”

http://twitter.com/AlexKennedyNBA/status/1114526164058542082
Even being named second-team All-American is enough of a slight, and Morant is prepared for negativity anyway. “I still know there’s going to be some who have something negative to say regardless if I go 1, 2, 3 or the last pick,” he said. “It’s just poking the bear and motivating me to keep going. That’s what I’m going to do.”
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October 16, 2021 | 12:01 pm EDT Update
Joining Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s ‘All the Smoke’, the three-time All-star talked about how things started when he was still up and coming into the league. “Our relationship was definitely strained at the end. I think I held onto that rookie year, not starting — how he didn’t really play me, and would play me a couple of minutes here. I think I took that personally for a while when I was younger and kind of held that grudge. So, I think that affected me a little bit.”
Williams further admitted that at certain times, it was his fault for being a stubborn one. “I was definitely a little s*** at times — a little prima donna. I also, I knew how coach Sloan was, and I think I kind of would poke the bear just to see his reactions, too. It was kind of like a little back and forth thing; s*** that I definitely wouldn’t do now, knowing what I know now. But I always respected coach Sloan; I learned a lot from him. My best years were definitely in Utah. I got a lot of love and respect for him as a coach and as a person.”
The 37-year-old former point guard finally revealed that he fixed what was broken with him and the coaching icon a few years back before its death. “I always knew I needed to reach out and apologize. He was definitely regressing a little bit. And our conversations were kind of, they actually got heated a couple times — well he got heated a couple times. It was almost like he was right back in the moment when I pissed him off. But I was happy I was able to get a chance before he passed, to talk with him and apologize for being a little s***.”
October 16, 2021 | 11:44 am EDT Update