enes Kanter

Wizards may be looking to trade up to grab Kanter


The Washington Wizards have apparently fallen in love with Enes Kanter’s combination of size and skill, and it appears as though they’re looking to move up in the draft in order to get him.

According to Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony, the Wizards are discussing a trade that would involve them giving their #6 pick to the Jazz, as well as the #18 pick, for Utah’s #3 overall pick. The Wizards would take Kanter, and the Jazz would take whoever is left between Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker.

Probasketballdraft.com also has the Wizards trying to move up, and say they’re in discussions with the Cavaliers about their #4 pick. The Cavs were widely selected to take Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas with the #4 pick, but his buyout issues mean that he will likely be available later in the draft. If the Cavs traded down, they may be able to grab Valanciunas, wait for him as he plays out his contract in Europe next season, and be able to grab another pick as well.

The Valanciunas news has sent shockwaves through the top-5 of the draft; we likely won’t know how all of this will end up playing out until after Thursday’s draft is over.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.