NBA draft update: Butler’s Mack Texas duo stay in draft

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Sunday night at midnight was the NCAA’s imposed deadline for when a player has to say he declare he will stay in college or lose his elegibility. The NBA says a player can wait until mid-June to decide, but the NCAA cares about its coaches and money making machine more than players getting good advice, so they moved the date up. And will again next year to an unreasonable time, but that’s another topic.

For now, we know what underclassmen are in for the NBA Draft. Here are a few highlights that declared one way or another in the last couple days.

* Shelvin Mack, Butler point guard that everyone loved in the NCAA Tournament, is in the draft. He’s tough and smart but lacks NBA athleticism for the point, and is likely a second round pick.

* DeAndre Liggins, the Kentucky junior combo guard, surprisingly is staying in the draft. He is likely to go undrafted, but maybe with some good workouts he slips into the end of the second round. But not likely.

* Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph also will enter the draft. Thompson is raw but likely will be a lottery pick because of his potential. By the way, next time a kid says in March he is staying in school but NBA guys don’t believe him, this is why. Well, this and Kevin Durant and about 100 other guys.

* Reggie Jackson — no, not that Reggie Jackson, we’re talking the Boston College point guard — will remain in the NBA draft. He’s long, athletic and kind of flew under the radar at BC, but scouts seem to really like the potential. Late first round pick, and with good workouts it could be higher.

* Klay Thompson, the Washington State guard (an son of former No. 1 overall pick Mychal Thompson) will stay in. The guy can flat out shoot the rock. There are questions about him on defense and his lateral movement. Expect him to go in the first round around 20 somewhere.

* Ashton Gibbs from Pittsburgh will remain in school, which was the right move for him.

* Carleton Scott of Notre Dame, the team’s third leading scorer and defensive specialist, has decided to stay in the draft. But he will not be drafted. Way, way to raw on offense.

* Jeremy Green from Stanford will enter the draft. Another guy who stayed in the draft but should have stayed in school. Undrafted for sure.

After four years out of NBA, Pacers give Damien Wilkins chance to return

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Consider this the most unexpected signing of the summer.

The last time we saw Damien Wilkins in the NBA, the 6’6″ wing out of the University of Georgia was finishing his ninth NBA season, averaging 6.4 points per game and shooting 33.3 percent from three. He looked like a guy who was done at the NBA level. Since then he has played in China, Spain, and the D-League.

The Pacers are giving him another crack to make an NBA roster. They have signed 37-year-old Wilkins to a non-guaranteed deal, reports the Indy Star.

The Indiana Pacers agreed to a one-year, non-guaranteed veteran minimum deal for close to $2 million with small forward and shooting guard Damien Wilkins, a league source confirmed to IndyStar.

The Pacers have 14 guys on the roster already, and they have at the wing Victor Oladipo, Lance Stephenson, Rodney Stuckey, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Glenn Robinson III, it will be tough for Wilkins to crack that rotation.

But he’ll get his chance, and having a desperate veteran pushing guys in camp never hurts. Maybe he can impress enough in camp that if the Pacers don’t want him another team might. It’s a foot in the door, and that’s all Wilkins can ask at this point.

Watch the Top 10 dunks from the NBA Summer League

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Summer League, at its core, is athletic young players in sloppy games.

That leads to massive dunks. Here are the top 10, which John Collins deserving the top spot.

Report: Carmelo Anthony willing to waive $8 million trade kicker for Rockets

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Carmelo Anthony does not want to return to the Knicks. The Knicks want to trade Carmelo Anthony. The Houston Rockets would like to trade for Carmelo Anthony.

So far all that will has not gotten a deal nearly as close to done as has been reported, I was told by sources. There are major hurdles, and the Knicks don’t like the offers they’ve gotten so far, which is why they pulled back (not because of the Scott Perry hiring or some desire to change Anthony’s mind). As has been reported before, Anthony is willing to waive his no trade clause for the right team to get the deal done, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said on The Jump.

“My sources tell me he’s willing to waive the trade kicker, which is worth around $8 million, so that makes a little easier for Houston to do a trade.”

That’s nice. It doesn’t solve the core problem with a Rockets’ trade.

The Rockets are over the cap so the only way this trade gets done is they send out enough salary to match and create space for Anthony. The Rockets could do that with a combination of Eric Gordon, Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza, and some expiring deals, but that cuts way too deeply into the roster and hurts the Rockets more than it helps. What the Rockets need to do in this trade is move Ryan Anderson, and his three-years, $60 million — except the Knicks don’t want that contract on their books (even though Anderson is a good player when healthy). So now the two sides are trying to find a third team that would take on Anderson’s contract, but the Rockets are going to have to give up sweeteners — a couple first round picks or a pick and a quality young player — that they don’t have to get the deal done. So enter a fourth team to get the sweeteners, but that team will want things back, and quickly the house of cards falls apart.

On top of all that, the Knicks still don’t think they’re getting enough back in the trade to want to do it. Yet, anyway.

Over on the left coast, there is Portland saying “look at us, look at us!” They would be willing to trade for Anthony, as C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard have made clear.

One massive problem with that: Anthony has not been interested in waiving his no trade clause for anyone but Cleveland and Houston.

If he changes his mind — and that’s a huge, unlikely “if” — maybe a deal could be found. The Blazers already have a top-five payroll in the NBA (may be top two when all is said and done) and that means they have to send out salary as well, someone like Evan Turner and Meyers Leonard (moving Allen Crabbe is the dream, but also highly unlikely). The Knicks could have interest in Turner, the Blazers have picks to throw in, and if a third team picked up Leonard maybe we’re close to something. But until Anthony makes it clear he would accept a trade to Portland, something he has yet to do, this is all a moot exercize.

But hey, Anthony will waive his trade kicker. So there’s that.

Can Stephen Curry shoot the ball into the sun roof of a car? Did you even need to ask?

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Stephen Curry has been getting up buckets the past week, working on his game. Sort of. It’s been a bit unconventional.

First, he finished off an alley-oop pass from Tony Romo on the American Century golf course in Lake Tahoe.

Then on Thursday he was filming an Infinity car commercial and had to shoot one into the sun roof from what looks to be 15-20 feet away. He drains it.

Of course he made that, he’s basically the Meadowlark Lemon of a new generation, but without the hook shot.