Dan Feldman

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Report: Kings deny interest in Milos Teodosic

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There was a report the Kings were interested in Milos Teodosic, which made sense considering Sacramento needs a point guard and Kings general manager and Teodosic share a Serbian connection.

David Pick (who initially reported Sacramento’s interest):

Divac on DeMarcus Cousins: “We’re not trading DeMarcus.”

NBA team asked draft prospect how he’d want to die

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NBA teams have descended upon Chicago for the pre-draft combine. They’ll work out players, test them medically and interview them – apparently including weird questions.

Kansas guard Frank Mason, a second-round prospect, revealed one of those strange queries.

Chris Lilly of WIBW-TV:

Teams want to believe they’re gaining some deep psychological understanding of a player, as if future stars and busts have neatly grouped views on death. They want to believe they’re seeing how a player thinks on his feet, as if there’s a correlation between reaction time while sitting at a desk and articulating a thought and reaction time while in the midst of a game.

And it might work.

It also might fool teams into a poor choice.

Magic Johnson: LaVar Ball won’t affect whether Lakers draft Lonzo Ball

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The consensus is LaVar Ball’s provocative statements, expensive shoes and persistent meddling won’t hurt Lonzo Ball’s draft stock.

But the consensus matters far less than what teams in position to pick the UCLA point guard will do.

One of those teams: The Lakers, who hold the third-best odds of have their numbers drawn in the lottery. And their new president says he’s not concerned about the elder Ball.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

Magic Johnson told me that Lavar Ball will not have any impact whatsoever on whether he would select Lonzo.

This doesn’t exactly confirm the rumor that the Lakers are “enamored” with him, but this should be welcome news for Lonzo, who said he’d prefer the Lakers draft him.

Frank Jackson staying in NBA draft, going one-and-done from Duke

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He’s neither the best Frank (that’s Frank Ntilikina) nor the best Jackson (that’s Josh Jackson) in the 2017 NBA draft, but Duke’s Frank Jackson is throwing his hat into the ring.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Frank Jackson is a borderline first-rounder, though probably more likely to go in the second-round. He’s the classic scoring guard in a point guard’s body.

A highly touted recruit, Jackson showed flashes during his freshman year – attacking the basket hard and shooting from outside. But at 6-foot-4, he’ll have a hard time with a score-first mentality in the NBA. He’s so far from being able to run an NBA offense, and his size will limit him at shooting guard.

At a certain point in the draft, it’ll be worth taking a flier on him, but it’s debatable in which round that point will come.

Report: Wes Wilcox wanted to trade Paul Millsap, Mike Budenholzer wanted to keep Hawks intact

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The Hawks reportedly explored trading Paul Millsap then told him they wouldn’t deal him last summer. During the season, they again reportedly put him on the market then told other teams, Millsap himself and the public he’d stay in Atlanta.

Why the confusion?

The answer could partially explain why the Hawks demoted Mike Budenholzer (former president) and Wes Wilcox (former general manager).

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

Sources said Wilcox wanted to move Millsap and go all-in on the rebuild, focusing on the team’s young talent like Schroeder, Hardaway and rookies Taurean Prince and DeAndre’ Bembry. But Budenholzer, who had the final say on personnel moves, and who had approved the trade of Teague to Indiana last summer, nixed any more potential deals.

Millsap’s future is first and foremost. (No matter who is picked as GM, Millsap will be dealing directly with Ressler on his contract going forward, I’m told.) Budenholzer and the owners want to do everything possible to re-sign him — “there’s no disagreement on whether we’re going to try and keep him, and whether he’s great for the Atlanta Hawks,” Ressler said.

If he’s negotiating directly with Hawks owner Tony Ressler, that bodes well for Millsap re-signing. Ressler said Atlanta would “make every effort imaginable to keep him” – which would presumably start with a max contract, projected to be worth $205 million over five years. Even Wilcox sounds on board (not that he has much choice once the boss sets the directive).

The Hawks are in a tough spot, forced to pay Millsap major money from age 32 to 37 or lose him for nothing. If they let him walk, they’d be saddled with a highly paid and maybe unhappy Dwight Howard and an only passable young core comprised of Dennis Schroder, Taurean Prince, Tim Hardaway Jr. and DeAndre’ Bembry. Keep Millsap, and the upside is a playoff series or two per year.

Trading Millsap would have prevented this dilemma, though it also might have kept Atlanta out of the playoffs this year.

At this point, moderate winning seems to be the Hawks’ preferred choice, but they don’t control the situation. As an unrestricted free agent, Millsap holds most of the cards.