Storyline: Draft Combine

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“We’re trying to help these young kids become better players,” Del Negro said of the close to 70 combine attendees. “Give them some knowledge and experience. I think the staff is doing a great job.” Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA’s vice president of basketball operations, asked Del Negro to serve as the combine director this year. The job involves overseeing coaches, helping assemble teams and formulating strategies.

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Coaching is an avenue that Perkins has been considering since retiring from the NBA one year ago, and Thursday’s experience only reinforced his desire. “Whenever you’re able to drop knowledge on young kids that are trying to fulfill a lifelong dream, it’s always a pleasure,” Perkins said Thursday evening after wrapping up Day 1 of the Combine. “But I’m just trying to get my feet wet as far as with the coaching and trying to get as much experience as I can, and I think it’s turning out well.”

That swish from the left corner was Huerter’s first of 15 straight made three-pointers in an individual drill. Los Angeles Lakers Coach Luke Walton, Starbucks coffee in hand, stopped mid-stride to watch Huerter move around the arc. Peja Stojakovic, one of the best shooters in NBA history and now the director of player personnel for the Sacramento Kings, paused a conversation to do the same. A Western Conference scout tracked Huerter’s shots on a chart, and when it was only makes and no misses he picked up his pencil and mouthed a single word: Wow.

Bruno Fernando is one of three Maryland players participating in the combine this week — along with guard Kevin Huerter and forward Justin Jackson — and he and Huerter have yet to sign agents. That means they have until May 30 to decide whether they will return to Maryland or forego the rest of their college eligibility and enter the draft. A few people with knowledge of Fernando’s situation believe he is closer to declaring for the draft than he is to returning for a sophomore season in College Park. His highest mock-draft projections are as a late first-round pick; some predict he won’t be selected at all.
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July 23, 2019 | 9:41 pm EDT Update
It is unclear what the scope of the investigation is, or whether the league, which declined to comment, is acting on information other than reports in the news media. The investigation follows one of the most tumultuous off-seasons in N.B.A. history, with many high-profile players switching teams. The N.B.A. is also exploring whether it needs to change its rules against tampering. Several players committed to signing with a team as soon as free agency negotiations officially opened at 6 p.m. on June 30 — even though teams were not allowed to begin recruiting before then. League rules prohibit players, coaches and front office executives from enticing an athlete under contract with another team to come play for their franchise.
July 23, 2019 | 9:13 pm EDT Update