NBA Rumor: Draft Interviews

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Darren Wolfson: It was not Obi Toppin, but that they will meet with Obi and they hope to meet with James Wiseman. But that one’s a slippery slope. They want to get some face time with Wiseman but the Wiseman camp is wondering ‘Okay, is James really a fit there in Minnesota? Can he coexist with Karl-Anthony Towns? Does that make sense?’ So that meeting may eventually take place presumably in Miami where James is training. But I know there’s been some hiccups in the wolves trying to line up some face time with James Wiseman but they are trying to use at least most if not all, of their 10 draft visits.

The Golden State Warriors, legitimate contenders for the NBA title next season, need players who are ready to contribute immediately. Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman was averaging 13.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game before the season abruptly ended in March. He had been among the most prolific pick-and-roll finishers in all of college basketball. His assist percentage (18.3%) ranked in the top 15 nationally among all players 6-foot-8 or taller.

Desmond Bane has become a Zoom expert. He said last week in an NBA Draft Combine call with reporters that he’d virtually interviewed with 26 teams. It came as no surprise that the Sixers were on that list for the 6-foot-6, 215-pound TCU product whose main selling point is that he can sink long-range jumpers and also do a little bit of everything else. “There’s been a lot of interest with Philly,” Bane said. “We feel good about where we’re at with Philly.”

Bane said his Sixers interview was led by Vince Rozman, the team’s vice president of scouting. He named the Sixers, Suns and Bucks as teams his agent, Seth Cohen of SAC Sports, thought had shown the most interest, in addition to two Bane couldn’t recall at the time. Phoenix’s only pick in the upcoming draft is No. 10, while Milwaukee’s only selection is No. 24. The Sixers own the 21st pick and four second-rounders, including No. 34 and No. 36. “Shooting is a necessity for them; they need a lot of shooting,” Bane said of the Sixers. “Obviously the attention that Ben Simmons and (Joel) Embiid demand is huge, so guys like me are very valuable that can play off the ball and make shots, have similar success to JJ Redick and Landry Shamet in previous years, running off screens. I feel like I can provide some of those same things.”

Hampton hasn’t interviewed with the Mavericks — at least not yet — as the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the tradition draft evaluation process. But some experts predict the former five-star guard who spent last year playing professionally in New Zealand could be available at the Mavericks’ No. 18 overall pick in the first round. “Kind of the hometown team,” Hampton said Tuesday in a Zoom press conference during the NBA’s virtual draft combine. “I’ve definitely kept up with the Mavs since I was a baby.” So far, Hampton has virtually interviewed with the Thunder, Pistons, Suns, Trail Blazers, Knicks, Bulls, Wizards and Kings.

Each team has its own needs and brings its own questions, but Yurtseven has noticed some commonalities to the experience in recent months. That has allowed him to settle in and be more comfortable in the setting, after he said he was nervous in his first interview with the Atlanta Hawks. “I think first comes being honest and being yourself,” Yurtseven told NBC Sports Washington of the keys to a draft interview. “But other than that, you have to know their rosters in order to see how they would fit in; what shooters are you going to be able to kick out to, or what bigs would you be playing with, what picks do they have. In all the interviews, I try to incorporate all the things I know about them in order to show them that I care, that I want to be on their team.”
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January 18, 2021 | 12:45 pm EST Update

PJ Tucker not opposed to being traded

Sources say Tucker is prepared to play for Houston for the season even without his future tied down, but he is not opposed to a trade should one materialize. It’s understood that an extension offer is on the table at this point, but Tucker has not accepted it. Teams have already made a number of phone calls to Houston about potentially acquiring Tucker.
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Sources also say the Rockets plan to be very aggressive with the sizable trade exception generated from the Harden trade and want to use it to get an additional quality player. Multiple teams have called about Tucker’s availability in wake of Harden’s departure. As far as an extension in Houston is concerned, sources say Tucker has tabled those discussions for now.
The Nets, sources said, appeared willing to trade anyone but Durant, Irving and Joe Harris (whom they’d signed to a four-year, $75 million deal entering this season). Durant’s history with Harden and interest in making this reunion a reality clearly played a massive part. “Brooklyn went Full Monty,” one rival executive whose team showed interest in Harden said. “Desperation was in the cards, and there’s nothing better in this league than to have desperation. …(The Rockets) are banking on it blowing up.”
What’s more, sources say, the Sixers weren’t the only other legitimate suitor playing that kind of part near the end. While Brooklyn and Philadelphia were widely seen as the two finalists, sources say Boston was still involved in the later stages of the negotiations as well. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge discussed his team’s involvement publicly after the deal went down, indicating that the two teams had not had recent talks. Still, sources say the Rockets saw the Celtics as part of their process until the end and that there were multiple configurations of a deal still possible on that front. As The Athletic reported on Dec. 24, Boston and Portland had been late additions to Harden’s list.