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Chris Haynes: Duke freshman Zion Williamson announces on Instagram that he is declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft.
Zion Williamson became the eighth Duke player to win the Oscar Robertson award, and the seventh Blue Devil to win the AP award. He’s the third freshmen after Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis to capture both awards. “I think the NBA is fortunate to get a young player like you to go in, along with some other stars, and be very productive,” Robertson said.
Oscar Robertson: “The next thing is you don’t know what team you’re going to go to in the NBA, but I hope you get with the right team because you’re going to be a tremendous star for the NBA. It’s just wonderful to have players like you to enter the NBA because the NBA is a great basketball league, and only for players like you will it go forward. So I’m happy to congratulate you on winning this award.”
Zion Williamson, at the Final Four to receive two player of the year awards, said he will not balk at signing with any NBA team. That definitely includes the Knicks. “If they draft me,” he said, “I would love to play for them.”
Pete Thamel: Zion essentially confirms the obvious. Says there’s a “high chance” he enters NBA Draft. Wants to discuss with his parents before saying anything official.
Zion Williamson sent the hearts of Knicks fans aflutter again on Thursday, the eve of his first March Madness game against North Dakota State. “I would love to play for the Knicks,” he said. Asked what he knows about the Knicks, Williamson said: “It’s an historic franchise.”
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June 15, 2019 | 9:18 pm EDT Update
The Celtics, meanwhile, will pull back and most likely build around their young core, with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as the centerpieces. According to a league source, the Celtics never felt like a deal for Davis was close as discussions unfolded this past week.
Boston had a better collection of assets and young players to dangle if it chose. But the source said that the uncertainty surrounding Davis’s future had made the Celtics reluctant to overwhelm the Pelicans with their best possible offer, and that they had abstained from including Tatum in their packages.
There was some belief that the Celtics should chase Davis at any cost and attempt to win a championship next year, just like the Raptors successfully did with Kawhi Leonard this season. But sources said the Celtics also had concerns about giving up so many important pieces of their roster that they would not necessarily even be a championship-caliber team with Davis next season.
Even if Irving departs, the Celtics remain optimistic about the state of the franchise. They hold the 14th, 20th, and 22nd picks in this draft. Even though some, if not all, of those picks likely would have been shipped out in a Davis deal, sources said the pursuit of Davis did not affect the team’s draft preparations, as they carried on, business as usual. According to a league source, the Celtics will continue to explore ways to potentially use some of those picks in deals for other current players, but that nothing was imminent.