Report: Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker planning to skip NBA predraft combine in Chicago

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The NBA’s annual predraft combine will be held in Chicago this week, which is a chance for teams to descend and get medical testing, measurements and interviews done with the majority of the candidates expected to be taken in this summer’s draft all appearing in one place.

But occasionally, players choose not to attend, for a variety of reasons. And two of the players appearing at or near the top of many teams’ draft boards have apparently made that choice.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Kansas’ Joel Embiid and Duke’s Jabari Parker – two potential No. 1 overall picks in the NBA draft – will not attend next week’s predraft combine in Chicago, league sources told Yahoo Sports. …

Ultimately, this is a way for the elite player to control how many teams ultimately have information on his medical history. While most top prospects don’t participate in the basketball elements of the combine, most make themselves available for physicals to be distributed to the 30 NBA teams. …

“They may have to do multiple physicals now,” one NBA general manager told Yahoo Sports. “It’s more of a concern about Embiid than Parker, given [Embiid’s] back issues.”

Embiid is recovering from season-ending back surgery, but injury alone won’t necessarily prohibit teams from using a high draft pick to select a prospect they feel may be a future cornerstone of a given franchise.

Nerlens Noel, for example, was projected by many to go number one overall in last year’s draft, but slipped to sixth before being traded to the Sixers. With Philadelphia being in a full-fledged rebuild, the team was content to let him take his time rehabilitating from a torn ACL injury, and chose to work with him privately while having him sit out the entire season.

This could be a strategy to ensure that only teams with a pick in the top two or three gain access to Embiid’s medical information, and without being cleared yet to participate in full-contact workouts, there appears little to be gained by him going through the process.

Parker is also likely to go top-three, and similarly shouldn’t be negatively impacted by skipping the event.

Nets’ Jeremy Lin: ‘We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says’

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The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.

Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.

He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):

We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.

The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.

But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.

Not that Lin cares what I say.

Check out Top 10 blocks from Summer League (VIDEO)

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When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.

But there were some great blocks.

Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.

 

Memphis Grizzlies sign former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.

 

Report: Even after Kyrie Irving requests trade, Carmelo Anthony still focused on Rockets, not Cavaliers

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Carmelo Anthony was reportedly willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets or Cavaliers. Cleveland never seemed overly interested, but Houston was. Anthony became set on the Rockets, even reportedly expecting a trade to Houston.

Then, Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavs.

That has thrown everything for a loop. Maybe Cleveland is more keen on trading for Anthony now? The Knicks are reportedly interested in trading Anthony and draft picks for Irving.

But any deal still depends on Anthony’s approval, and it’s now unclear he’d still grant that for the Cavaliers.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

However, a source close to Anthony said late Friday that the All Star forward is focused on getting a deal done with Houston.

Consider this another indication LeBron James will leave Cleveland next summer. Of course, Anthony might have other reasons for preferring Houston. But when reading tea leaves on LeBron’s future, this is a clue.

I doubt LeBron has completely decided his plan, and he hasn’t even necessarily shared his thinking with Anthony, a close friend. Remember, LeBron edited his coming-home essay while on a flight with an unknowing Dwyane Wade, another close friend. But it was one thing for LeBron to strand Wade in Miami, a desirable city where Wade was happy even before LeBron arrived. It’d be something else entirely for LeBron to ditch Anthony in Cleveland. If LeBron is considering leaving, maybe he’d tell Anthony to stay clear.

Anthony could also be operating without hearing directly from LeBron. But if LeBron’s friend believes LeBron might leave, that’d still say something (though obviously not as much).

Back to the possibility that Anthony prefers the Rockets for other reasons. What happens if New York and Cleveland agree to a trade? Does Anthony still hold out for his top choice? Or does he relent and accept what was once his second choice? For now, it seems as if he’s still angling for Houston and will cross other bridges if he reaches them.