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162 players declare early for 2016 NBA draft

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A new NCAA rule that allows players to declare for the NBA draft without losing their college eligibility was sure to open the floodgate of early entrants.

Consider them wide open.

For the 2016 draft, 162 players – 117 coming through the American system – declared early.

College players, as long as they don’t do something else to compromise their eligibility like hire an agent, can return to school by May 25. International players have until June 13.

So, while this list is longer than previous years, it’s also less meaningful. The more important list is players who’ve hired agents – which will only increase as players progress through the pre-draft process, including next month’s combine.

Here’s a full list of early entrants:

American:

Player                                     School                                     Height             Status

Abdul-Malik Abu                   North Carolina State               6-8                   Sophomore

Rosco Allen                            Stanford                                  6-9                   Junior

Tony Anderson                       Southeast Missouri State        6-9                   Freshman

BeeJay Anya                           North Carolina State               6-9                   Junior

Brandon Austin                      Northwest Florida State         6-6                   Sophomore

Ian Baker                                New Mexico State                  6-0                   Junior

Wade Baldwin IV                  Vanderbilt                               6-3                   Sophomore

Anthony “Cat” Barber            North Carolina State               6-2                   Junior

V.J. Beachem                          Notre Dame                            6-8                   Junior

Malik Beasley                         Florida State                           6-5                   Freshman

DeAndre Bembry                   St. Joseph’s                             6-6                   Junior

Ben Bentil                               Providence                              6-9                   Sophomore

James Blackmon Jr.                 Indiana                                    6-4                   Sophomore

Antonio Blakeney                   LSU                                        6-4                   Freshman

Jaron Blossomgame                Clemson                                  6-7                   Junior

Trevon Bluiett                         Xavier                                     6-6                   Sophomore

Amida Brimah                        Connecticut                             7-0                   Junior

Isaiah Briscoe                          Kentucky                                6-3                   Freshman

Dillon Brooks                          Oregon                                    6-7                   Sophomore

Elijah Brown                           New Mexico                           6-4                   Sophomore

Jaylen Brown                          California                                6-7                   Freshman

Lamous Brown                       Utah State U-Eastern (CC)     7-0                   Sophomore

Deonte Burton                        Iowa State                               6-4                   Junior

Antonio Campbell                   Ohio                                        6-10                 Junior

Kareem Canty                         Auburn                                    6-0                   Junior

Robert Carter Jr.                     Maryland                                 6-9                   Junior

Marquese Chriss                      Washington                             6-9                   Freshman

Conor Clifford                        Washington State                    7-0                   Junior

Charles Cooke III                   Dayton                                    6-5                   Junior

Bakari Copeland                     Maryland-Eastern Shore         6-6                   Junior

Deyonta Davis                        Michigan State                        6-10                 Freshman

Moustapha Diagne                  Northwest Florida State         6-9                   Freshman

Cheick Diallo                          Kansas                                     6-9                   Freshman

Tyler Dorsey                           Oregon                                    6-4                   Freshman

D’andre Downey                    Stillman College (AL)             6-9                   Junior

Kris Dunn                               Providence                              6-4                   Junior

Vince Edwards                       Purdue                                     6-8                   Sophomore

Henry Ellenson                       Marquette                                6-11                 Freshman

Kay Felder                              Oakland                                  5-9                   Junior

Brannen Greene                      Kansas                                     6-7                   Junior

Jimmy Hall                              Kent State                               6-8                   Junior

Daniel Hamilton                      Connecticut                             6-7                   Sophomore

Cedric Happi Noube               Virginia Union                        6-7                   Junior

Jordan Hare                             Rhode Island                          6-10                 Junior

Josh Hart                                 Villanova                                 6-5                   Junior

Josh Hawkinson                      Washington State                    6-10                 Junior

Nigel Hayes                            Wisconsin                                6-8                   Junior

Brandon Ingram                      Duke                                       6-9                   Freshman       

Ike Iroegbu                             Washington State                    6-2                   Junior

Demetrius Jackson                  Notre Dame                            6-1                   Junior

Justin Jackson                         North Carolina                        6-8                   Sophomore

Julian Jacobs                           USC                                        6-4                   Junior

Stefan Jankovic                       Hawaii                                     6-11                 Junior

Anthony January                     Cal State-San Bernardino       6-8                   Sophomore

Kris Jenkins                             Villanova                                 6-6                   Junior

Que Johnson                           Washington State                    6-5                   Junior

Peter Jok                                 Iowa                                        6-6                   Junior

Damian Jones                          Vanderbilt                               7-0                   Junior

Derrick Jones Jr.                      UNLV                                     6-7                   Freshman

Nikola Jovanovic                    USC                                        6-11                 Junior

Moses Kingsley                       Arkansas                                 6-10                 Junior

Travion Kirkendoll                  Centenary College (LA)         6-3                   Sophomore

Skal Labissiere                        Kentucky                                6-11                 Freshman

Jermaine Lawrence                 Manhattan                               6-10                 Sophomore

Dedric Lawson                       Memphis                                 6-9                   Freshman

Marcus Lee                             Kentucky                                6-9                   Junior

Thon Maker                             Orangeville Prep/Athlete Institute                  7-0       Post-Graduate

Emmanuel Malou                    Yuba CC (CA)                        6-9                   Sophomore

Makai Mason                          Yale                                         6-1                   Sophomore

Patrick McCaw                       UNLV                                     6-7                   Sophomore

Zak McLaughlin                     Gadsden State CC (AL)         6-9                   Freshman

Jahmal McMurray                   South Florida                          6-0                   Freshman

Kennedy Meeks                      North Carolina                        6-10                 Junior

Dallas Moore                           North Florida                          6-1                   Junior

Jalen Moore                             Utah State                               6-9                   Junior

Dejounte Murray                     Washington                             6-5                   Freshman

Jamal Murray                          Kentucky                                6-4                   Freshman

Mamadou Ndiaye                   UC-Irvine                                7-6                   Junior

Tyrell Nelson                           Gardner-Webb                        6-7                   Junior

Malik Newman                       Mississippi State                     6-3                   Freshman

Marc-Eddy Norelia                 Florida Gulf Coast                  6-8                   Junior

Chris Obekpa                          St. John’s                                6-10                 Junior

Goodluck Okonoboh              UNLV                                     6-10                 Sophomore

Cameron Oliver                       Nevada                                    6-8                   Freshman

Chinanu Onuaku                     Louisville                                6-10                 Sophomore

Alec Peters                              Valparaiso                               6-9                   Junior

QJ Peterson                             VMI                                        6-0                   Junior

Jakob Poeltl                             Utah                                        7-0                   Sophomore

Malik Pope                              San Diego State                      6-10                 Sophomore

Rodney Purvis                        Connecticut                             6-4                   Junior

Tim Quarterman                      LSU                                        6-6                   Junior

Jalen Reynolds                        Xavier                                     6-10                 Junior

Malachi Richardson                Syracuse                                  6-6                   Freshman

Domantas Sabonis                  Gonzaga                                  6-11                 Sophomore

Corey Sanders Jr.                    Rutgers                                    6-2                   Freshman

Wayne Selden Jr.                    Kansas                                     6-5                   Junior

Ingrid Sewa                            Arizona Western College (CC)6-9                  Sophomore

Pascal Siakam                         New Mexico State                  6-9                   Sophomore

Ben Simmons                          LSU                                        6-10                 Freshman

Diamond Stone                       Maryland                                 6-11                 Freshman

Caleb Swanigan                      Purdue                                     6-9                   Freshman       

Isaiah Taylor                           Texas                                       6-1                   Junior

Rakish Taylor                          Anderson University (SC)      6-7                   Junior

Ethan Telfair                           Idaho State                             6-0                   Junior

Trevor Thompson                    Ohio State                               6-11                 Sophomore

Melo Trimble                           Maryland                                 6-3                   Sophomore

Tyler Ulis                                Kentucky                                5-9                   Sophomore

Aaron Valdes                          Hawaii                                     6-5                   Junior

Maurice Watson Jr.                 Creighton                                5-10                 Junior

James Webb III                       Boise State                              6-9                   Junior

Andrew White III                   Nebraska                                 6-7                   Junior

Isaiah Whitehead                    Seton Hall                               6-4                   Sophomore    

Devin Williams                       West Virginia                          6-9                   Junior

Troy Williams                          Indiana                                    6-7                   Junior

Alec Wintering                        Portland                                  5-11                 Junior

Zeek Woodley                        Northwestern State                 6-2                   Junior

Stephen Zimmerman               UNLV                                     7-0                   Freshman

 

 

International:

Player                                     Team/Country of Team        Height              Status

Marko Arapovic                      Cedevita (Croatia)                  6-9                   1996 DOB

Ege Arar                                  Galatasaray (Turkey)               6-9                   1996 DOB

Edin Atic                                Spars Sarajevo (Bosnia)          6-7                   1997 DOB

Gracin Bakumanya                 Antibes (France)                     7-0                   1997 DOB

Romaric Belemene                  Clinicas Rincon (Spain)          6-9                   1997 DOB

Dragan Bender                        Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)       7-0                   1997 DOB

Metecan Birsen                       Istanbul BSB (Turkey)            6-9                   1995 DOB

Axel Bouteille                         Chalon (France)                      6-7                   1995 DOB

Isaia Cordinier                        Denain (France)                      6-5                   1996 DOB

Petr Cornelie                           Le Mans (France)                    6-11                 1995 DOB

Ilimane Diop                           Laboral Kutxa (Spain)            6-11                 1995 DOB

Youssoupha Fall                     Le Mans (France)                    7-3                   1995 DOB

Diego Flaccadori                     Trento (Italy)                           6-5                   1996 DOB

Michael Fusek                         Spirou (Belgium)                     7-3                   1995 DOB

Marko Guduric                       Crvena Zvezda (Serbia)          6-6                   1995 DOB

Egemen Guven                       Karsiyaka (Turkey)                 6-10                 1996 DOB

Ludvig Hakanson                   Sevilla (Spain)                         6-3                   1996 DOB

Juancho Hernangomez            Estudiantes (Spain)                 6-9                   1995 DOB

Ognjen Jaramaz                       Mega Leks (Serbia)                 6-4                   1995 DOB

Alpha Kaba                             Mega Leks (Serbia)                 6-10                 1996 DOB

Vincent Kesteloot                   Aalstar (Belgium)                    6-7                   1995 DOB

Furkan Korkmaz                     Efes (Turkey)                          6-7                   1997 DOB

Emircan Kosut                        Efes (Turkey)                          7-1                   1995 DOB    

Mathias Lessort                       Chalon (France)                      6-9                   1995 DOB

Luc Loubaki                            Orleans (France)                      6-3                   1997 DOB

Timothé Luwawu                    Mega Leks (Serbia)                 6-7                   1995 DOB

Blaz Mesicek                           Union Olimpija (Slovenia)      6-6                   1997 DOB

Aleksej Nikolic                       Brose Baskets (Germany)       6-3                   1995 DOB    

Georgios Papagiannis              Panathinaikos (Greece)           7-2                   1997 DOB

Adam Pechacek                      Koszalin (Poland)                   6-10                 1995 DOB

Petar Rakicevic                       Metalac (Serbia)                      6-9                   1995 DOB

Martynas Sajus                        Zalgiris (Lithuania)                 6-9                   1996 DOB

Jordan Sakho                          Torrelodones (Spain)               6-10                 1997 DOB

Wesley Sena                            Bauru (Brazil)                         6-11                 1996 DOB

Kenan Sipahi                           Karsiyaka (Turkey)                 6-6                   1995 DOB

Nik Slavica                              Cibona (Croatia)                     6-7                   1997 DOB

Rolands Smits                         Fuenlabrada (Spain)                6-10                 1995 DOB

Emir Sulejmanovic                  Barcelona (Spain)                    6-9                   1995 DOB

Berk Ugurlu                            Fenerbahce (Turkey)               6-3                   1996 DOB

Alexander Vezenkov              Barcelona (Spain)                    6-9                   1995 DOB

Guerschon Yabusele               Rouen (France)                       6-7                   1995 DOB

Rade Zagorac                          Mega Leks (Serbia)                 6-10                 1995 DOB

Zhou Qi                                   Xinjiang (China)                     7-2                   1996 DOB

Ante Zizic                               Cibona (Croatia)                     6-11                 1997 DOB

Ivica Zubac                             Mega Leks (Serbia)                 7-0                   1997 DOB

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni: ‘If the superstars want to play together, then they will make it work’

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James Harden and Chris Paul worked reasonably well together on the court, but they played through a lot of tension.

Now, the Rockets are going to a new star backcourt that invites even more questions.

How will Harden and Russell Westbrook fit?

Houston coach Mike D’Antoni on The Woj Pod:

If the superstars want to play together, then they will make it work.

To be able to win a title now, you have to get superstars together – and whether it’s two or three or how many else you can get. And then it becomes a chemistry. Because everybody’s ball-dominant. When you’re a superstar, you’ve been the main guy for sure. Now, you’ve got to make it work. And sometimes personalities, it doesn’t work. Sometimes, it works for a while. Sometimes, it’s hard to manage, sometimes. Again, if they’re not on the same page totally 100 percent, I think the organization has to look and see what’s best for the organization.

D’Antoni was asked about Harden and Westbrook. (Best I can tell, D’Antoni never named Westbrook on the podcast, which should allow the coach to avoid a fine.) But D’Antoni could have easily been describing Harden and Paul.

It seems Harden and Paul no longer wanted to make it work. Those two played better together than most people realized. The Rockets were one of the NBA’s best teams each of the last two years, and they had an elite offense. But Harden and Paul clearly grated each other.

Now, Harden and Westbrook will get a fresh start together. They sound eager to re-join forces after beginning their careers together with the Thunder.

D’Antoni is correct: Harden’s and Westbrook’s desire to make this work will go a long way.

But Harden and Paul were once enthusiastic about pairing, and that went south. An initial commitment to teaming up is important. It can also wane quickly.

It also can’t overcome every fit issue. Sometimes, stars just don’t match, no matter their intentions.

D’Antoni is also right about super teams generally require ball-dominant stars to sacrifice for the greater good. There are always diminishing returns on grouping stars.

But other situations have included stars with more complementary skills. So much of what Harden and Westbrook provide involves having the ball in their hands. The diminishment of returns will likely be greater in Houston.

Harden’s and Westbrook’s talent give the Rockets a huge leg up. Those two wanting to play together will push each to do his best to make it work.

It’s still far more complicated than that.

Report: Ben Simmons contract extension allows him to hit super-max triggers

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Ben Simmons signed a max contract extension with the 76ers.

It could turn into a super-max contract extension.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The exact value of Simmons’ contract extension won’t be determined until the salary cap set next year. That’s when the extension kicks in. The current projection has it worth about $170 million over five years.

If Simmons makes an All-NBA team next season, it could be worth 20% more – bringing the projected total to about $204 million.

Whether Simmons gets the full bump if he makes an All-NBA team was a matter of negotiation between him and Philadelphia. They could have agreed to pay different amounts depending whether he makes the first, second or third team. (Simmons could also trigger the super max by winning Most Valuable Player or Defensive Player of the Year next season, again contingent on the terms of the extension.)

We don’t yet know the specifics of Simmons’ super-max eligibility. But they’re in his contract now.

There will be a lot riding on his performance next season. We’ll eventually learn how much

The 76ers did well to avoid a player option in the deal. That was likely an advantage of signing Simmons to an extension now rather than forcing him to wait until restricted free agency next summer. Simmons is just 22. He should provide positive value to his team six seasons from now.

Simmons’ trade kicker won’t matter now. A trade kicker can’t take a player above his max salary, and Simmons is starting at his max. But if he struggles to fit with franchise player Joel Embiid, Simmons could be in line for a nice bonus if traded in a few years.

Report: Before Paul George trade, Thunder were already preparing to trade Russell Westbrook next year

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The Thunder are starting over in an unprecedented way.

By sending Paul George to the Clippers and Russell Westbrook to the Rockets, Oklahoma City is becoming the first team ever to trade two reigning All-NBA players in the same offseason. The Thunder are the first team in decades to trade even two reigning All-Stars in the same offseason.

The sequence appears clear: George requested a trade. Oklahoma City granted it. With one star gone, the Thunder had less ability to win with Westbrook. So, they dealt him, too.

But if George didn’t request a trade this summer, Westbrook might have been moved soon, anyway.

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:

The clock was already ticking loudly on the Westbrook era, with team officials quietly preparing to hit the reset button next summer, per sources, after one more run.

George’s trade request was a blessing in disguise for the Thunder. They got a massive haul from the Clippers and clearance to trade Westbrook, a franchise icon. The Westbrook trade netted even more draft strong draft considerations from Houston. Oklahoma City has a great head start on its rebuild.

The Thunder had probably peaked. They’ve been good the last few years, but not good enough to win a playoff series. The supporting cast was expensive, and further upgrades would’ve likely been too costly. Westbrook is too good to tank. The four years and $171,139,920 remaining on his contract are a major liability.

However, Westbrook has meant so much to Oklahoma City. His loyalty after Kevin Durant left was so huge.

It would have been difficult to handle the politics of trading him if George didn’t ask out first. That made it so Westbrook was ready to leave. Thunder fans seem supportive of both Westbrook and the organization.

I believe Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti believes he would’ve traded Westbrook soon, regardless. That was clearly the right move for getting past this era of stagnation.

But it’s another thing to pull the trigger on moving such a beloved player. It wouldn’t have necessarily happened, especially not smoothly.

Canada’s FIBA World Cup training camp features 17 NBA players

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No Andrew Wiggins, no problem.

The disconnect between Wiggins and Canada Basketball seemed like a big deal when Wiggins looked like a budding star from a country without much basketball pedigree. But Wiggins has stagnated. Canada, on the other hand, looks like a rising international power.

Canada Basketball announced its training-camp invitations for the FIBA World Cup. The list includes a whop 17 NBA players:

Though the Nuggets clearly expect Murray to reach the next level, this group is short on star power right now. Don’t expect Canada rival Team USA. But this is a deep pool of solid players. They should be competitive in the tournament this fall in China.

This group is also pretty young. Players like Murray, Gilgeous-Alexander, Barrett, Alexander-Walker and Clarke could take Canada to an even higher level in years to come.

And then the generation that’s growing up idolizing the championship Raptors will come through. Expect Canada’s climb to continue.

The other 12 players invited to Canada Basketball’s training camp: Aaron Best, Aaron Doornekamp, Andrew Nembhard, Andy Rautins, Brady Heslip, Kevin Pangos, Kyle Wiltjer, Melvin Ejim, Naz Mitrou-Long, Oshae Brissett, Phil Scrubb, Thomas Scrubb.