Stephen A. Smith appeared to confirm a rumor about the Raptors having a deal in place to send Tracy McGrady to the 76ers in 1999, but the move was nixed by Toronto after Smith broke the news.
Smith, now with ESPN, was a 76ers beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer back in 1999 when he broke the story. The report was that the Raptors would send McGrady to Philly along with a first round pick for Larry Hughes, who was drafted eighth overall by the 76ers in 1998. McGrady was eventually traded to the Magic in 2000, where he averaged 28.1 points per game in four seasons. McGrady would have been teamed up with a 24-year-old Allen Iverson in 1999 if the trade went through. Without any live basketball right now, it's hard not to imagine what could have been.
Ashton Hagans has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft.
Hagans put in averages of 11.5 points, 6.4 assists, 1.9 steals and 3.4 turnovers per game during his sophomore season with Kentucky, and he's currently projected to go as a late second-round pick on draft day. He struggled from 3-point range during his two-year collegiate stint, connecting on just 26.5% of his shots from beyond the arc, so that's something he'll certainly need to work on to get meaningful minutes at the NBA level.
The Knicks may dangle Dennis Smith Jr. in trade talks this summer, according to Marc Berman of the NY Post.
Smith was a key acquisition for former Knicks president Steve Mills in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, but the trade panned out horribly for New York and was reportedly Mills' undoing. Smith had allies in David Fizdale and Keith Smart, but with those two also canned, the current administration has no attachment to DSJ. It seems likely that the Knicks' new president, Leon Rose, will shop Smith Jr. this summer, and perhaps he'll benefit from a change of scenery.
Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said the team is focused on the development of its "core five" players -- Trae Young, John Collins, De'Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish and Kevin Huerter.
"For the most part, they're starters," Pierce said of that five-man group. The Hawks brought in Clint Capela this season, of course, so if Collins starts at PF that will bump one of the wing guys to the second unit. Asked what specific needs the Hawks might address in the draft and free agency, Pierce said, “We need to add shooting." He also hopes to see improved shooting percentages from existing guys on the roster, especially the "core five." Even Young could bump up his accuracy, as he made a good-not-great 36.1% of his voluminous 3-pointers (9.5 attempts per game, fifth-most in the NBA).
Cassius Stanley has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft.
Stanley churned out averages of 12.6 points, 4.9 boards and 1.1 triples per game on 47.4% shooting from the field and 73.3% from the stripe during his one-and-done season at Duke, and he's currently projected to be a second-round pick on draft day.
Mychal Thompson, the father of Klay, said his son is "feeling great and he’ll be ready to go at full speed next year.”
Klay remains on track to return for the start of the 2020-21 season (whenever that may be). “He’s feeling good, he’s working out on his own, he’s doing all of his drills. He says he feels good, he walks around without any kind of limp, no kind of soreness,” said Mychal Thompson in a radio interview on Monday.
Kemba Walker said his knee is doing well during his time off.
He was able to return from his knee issue on Mar. 3 and had a week of action before the hiatus, but not having access to the team facility right now is challenging. “It’s difficult because I don’s have anyone around to get me some treatment or anything like that, so I have to do my own stuff, which I’m trying my best to do as much as possible," Walker said. The Celtics will likely have a plan for Walker upon his return, and hopefully it won't affect his output.
Sixers GM Elton Brand is reportedly a candidate for the Knicks' vacant GM position.
Just because New York is interested doesn't mean Brand is going anywhere, of course. He's under contract beyond 2020 and the Sixers are reportedly "very happy" with his performance. His moves to acquire Tobias Harris and Al Horford came with steep price tags, but it gave the team added veteran depth to accompany franchise pillars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid -- whether that's enough to win the East remains to be seen.
According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Lauri Markkanen was unhappy with the direction of the franchise prior to the suspension of the season.
Markkanen had taken a significant step backward in 2019-20. He has seen his scoring average drop from 18.7 in 2018-19 to 14.7 points per game, and his rebounding numbers decrease from 9.0 RPG to 6.3. Per Cowley's column, "Markkanen was one unhappy camper before the coronavirus put the NBA on hiatus. Unhappy enough that if the direction of the organization was going to stay unchanged, he'd rather be elsewhere." However, it was reported yesterday that the Bulls have started a formal search process to hire a new top executive with full authority on basketball decisions. The new GM will be tasked with repairing the relationship between Markkanen and the organization.
The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced on Saturday that Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett have been officially inducted into the HOF.
Three of the greatest players in NBA history enter the Hall together. Heartbreakingly, Kobe will enter posthumously. HOF chairman Jerry Colangelo described the 2020 Hall of Fame class as "arguably the most epic class ever." They are joined by Rudy Tomjanovich, Eddie Sutton, Tamika Catchings, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens and Patrick Baumann,
Florida shooting guard Scottie Lewis announced Monday that he will return to school for his sophomore season.
Lewis entered college as one of the top incoming freshmen in the country, and it was expected that after one season in Gainesville he would be a lottery pick this summer. But the 6-foot-5, 185-pound guard struggled, finishing the year with averages of 8.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.2 blocks and 0.7 3-pointers per game. To Lewis' credit he gave an honest assessment of himself in announcing his decision to return to school, foregoing the opportunity to even test the waters to instead focus on preparing for next season.
Utah sophomore SG Both Gach is expected to enter his name into the NBA Draft, according to Evan Daniels of 247Sports.
This may be more about Gach looking for feedback from NBA decision makers regarding what he'll need to do in order to be an effective pro than anything. He'll do what needs to be done in order to retain his college eligibility, which is a wise move since he's considered to be a long shot to hear his name called come late June. Gach started 25 of the 27 games in which he appeared this season, posting averages of 10.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.7 steals and 1.1 3-pointers per contest. While Gach got off to a hot start in non-conference play he was inconsistent against Pac-12 competition, and ultimately finished the season with shooting percentages of 39.7% from the field, 25.0% from three and 77.5% from the foul line.
NBA teams will be allowed to hold virtual meetings with NBA prospects ahead of the 2020 Draft, but they will not be allowed to host in-person workouts or request/watch live video.
The NCAA season was shortened and teams won't be able to see these kids in person, so teams will be working with a small sample size when evaluating talent ahead of the 2020 Draft. It seems unlikely we'll get a Summer League this year, which will make it that much more difficult to analyze the incoming class for fantasy hoops.
Jazz GM Justin Zanik had a video interview for Chicago's open VP of Basketball Operations position on Monday.
The Bulls have formally begun their search for their next VP of Basketball Operations, and Denver's GM Arturas Karnisovas will interview with the club later this week. There are sure to be many video interviews over the coming weeks, so we wouldn't expect them to come to a decision any time soon.
Stanford freshman guard Tyrell Terry has declared for the NBA Draft according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
He doesn't have a great physical profile as a 6'1, 160-pound guard, but Terry is widely regarded as one of the best shooters in the class -- he ranked in the 99th percentile for catch-and-shoot and hit just under 41% from beyond the arc. He averaged 14.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.0 triples and could sneak into the first round conversation.
Arizona freshman Zeke Nnaji officially announced he will enter the 2020 NBA draft.
It was reported last week that Nnaji was planning to enter the draft, and he made it official on Tuesday afternoon. Nnaji exceeded expectations this season, as he was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and received All-Pac-12 first-team honors after averaging 16.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. He has a solid chance to slide into the late first round, depending on his individual workouts.
Jermaine Haley has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft.
Haley's collegiate stats weren't all that impressive, as he finished his senior season at West Virginia with averages of 8.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He also struggled from distance, shooting just 25.2% from beyond the arc over his four-year collegiate career, so there are no guarantees he'll hear his name called on draft day.
The NBA and NBPA are "discussing scenarios for withholding up to 25% of players' remaining salaries in a league escrow should regular-season games eventually be canceled" according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Woj adds that the NBA "continues to hope that there will be a resumption of some part of the regular season and playoffs" in the near future, but if some regular season games are cancelled, that will automatically trigger the Force Majeure provision -- that means that players will lose approximately 1% of their salary per canceled game. The NBA "has no plans to announce the cancellation of games in the immediate future," so it could be a while longer before we hear anything concrete regarding this.
Meyers Leonard has been rehabbing his sprained left ankle in his pool and estimates he's about 90% recovered.
Leonard acknowledged that he's still not in basketball shape, but it sounds like he's just about over the ankle injury that he sustained on February 3. He should be ready to go once the season starts back up, so we'll be taking him off the injury report.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Knicks president Leon Rose is not expected to make any front office changes during the hiatus.
Rose is reportedly holding scouting meetings with his staff via conference call/video regarding the draft. Per Berman's report, "it’s a good bet Knicks GM Scott Perry will be in place for the NBA Draft 2020 whenever it is held. The current date is June 25. What happens after the Knicks’ draft is unclear." Interim head coach Mike Miller will likely be replaced once the team settles on a GM.