Jazz can’t get Marcus Smart to work out for them

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Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are the consensus top three prospects in the 2014 NBA draft. Dante Exum, in many circles, is emerging as the fourth best.

That leaves the Utah Jazz, who have the No. 5 pick.

Several players fit in that next tier: Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, Noah Vonleh. The Jazz – who have intriguing young players at every position but nobody who commands drafting to build around – must do their due diligence to separate that pack.

Smart isn’t making it any easier on them, according to Walter Perrin, Utah’s Vice President of Player Personnel.

Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune:

Obviously, the Jazz can still draft Smart without a workout. If he really didn’t want to go to Utah, he’d have two options.

1. Play in another league outside the NBA. If he does this, the Jazz would continue to hold his NBA rights.

2. Sit out and don’t play professionally anywhere. If he does this, he could re-enter the draft next year.

Maybe the threat of either scenario would convince the Jazz to pass on him, but players rarely go to those lengths. If Utah drafts Smart, he’ll almost certainly play for there next season.

The Jazz’s problem is the two teams drafting after them, the Celtics and Lakers, are viewed as much more appealing destinations. It’s easy to justify taking a slight salary dip by getting picked lower if it means going to Boston or Los Angeles.

So what should Utah do?

A Trey Burke-Smart backcourt might be rocky at first, but there’s potential for growth. Smart would defend better guards, and Burke – once he gets his NBA legs under him – should complement Smart’s slashing with outside shooting. Lineups with two point guards have proven effective all over the NBA.

If Smart is the best prospect available, draft him. The Jazz have two years at Oklahoma State to review plus his time with the U.S. National U19 team.

A workout might help, but it’s not necessary to determine Smart’s value.

Report: Clippers hiring ex-Cavaliers executive Trent Redden

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The power dynamics within the Clippers are shifting, and the ground apparently hasn’t settled yet.

Doc Rivers has been stripped of his presidency. Jerry West became a consultant. Lawrence Frank now holds the most prestigious title in the front office, and newly hired Michael Winger will report to him. Also falling under Frank in the organizational chart? Trent Redden.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

Longtime Cleveland Cavaliers executive Trent Redden will join the LA Clippers’ front-office staff as assistant general manager, league sources said on Monday.

Redden was ousted in Cleveland with David Griffin. He’ll help the Clippers simply by providing another capable executive. They’ve long needed to add front-office employees (and pay for them).

But Redden also exacerbates the issue of Frank’s underlings having far more front-office experience than him. As the Clippers try to establish their new setup, we’ll see whether that creates complications.

Warriors’ Steve Kerr: I expect to coach all season and for many years ahead

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Warriors coach Steve Kerr has missed significant time the last two seasons due to complications from back surgery.

Could those issues derail his career?

Kerr, via Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“I fully expect to coach all year,” Kerr says in a no-nonsense tone. “That’s my expectation. And for many years to come.”

On the most basic level, it’d be good if Kerr feels well enough to coach. The headaches sound miserable, regardless of his job.

But it’d also be ideal if the NBA didn’t lose one of its best coaches just as he’s getting started. The 51-year-old Kerr might wind up the greatest coach of all time. Obviously that’s a long way off, but he has that potential – health permitting.

Quinn Cook signing two-year contract with Hawks

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The Hawks began last season with just two point guards, one fewer than most teams – especially notable because neither starter Dennis Schroder nor backup Malcolm Delaney was experienced for his role.

Schroder and Delaney return, but Atlanta is adding another option – Quinn Cook.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Cook is a borderline NBA player. He might not make the regular-season roster. He also might supplant Delaney for a rotation spot.

A 24-year-old who has spent most of the last two years in the D-League (also getting stints with the Mavericks and Pelicans), Cook is a good outside shooter. He’s also steady, if unspectacular, in his lead-guard duties.

This is a solid flier at a position the Hawks could use depth.

Knicks sign Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Jamel Artis

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The Knicks signing Nigel Hayes leaked first.

But New York didn’t stop there.

Knicks release:

The New York Knickerbockers announced today that the team has signed forwards Jamel Artis and Nigel Hayes and guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

Like Hayes, Artis (Pittsburgh) and Rathan-Mayes (Florida State) went undrafted this year – making them eligible to be waived and assigned to the Knicks’ minor-league affiliate. That’s likely all three’s fate.

But first, each will have an opportunity to make the regular-season roster. The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one roster spot for someone on a standard contract. Chasson Randle (unguaranteed) is the incumbent choice, but these three could supplant him.