Getty Images

Duke’s Wendell Carter announces he’s entering NBA draft, likely Top 10 pick

4 Comments

Duke’s loaded roster didn’t go as deep as they — or Blue Devil’s faithful — hoped in the NCAA Tournament. Now, as expected, many of their key players from this run are headed to the NBA. Marvin Bagley III, Gary Trent Jr. and Trevon Duval all declared, and senior Grayson Allen is headed to the pros as well.

Now big man Wendell Carter has joined the group, making the announcement Monday.

“I want to thank Duke University, my coaches and teammates for helping me so much, not only on the court, but off it as well,” said Carter. We’re all brothers, we all have each other’s’ backs. I’m really going to miss being around my friends, but I’m really going to cherish the moments we had together. I’m very excited and very happy to say I was part of something special here at Duke.”

Carter is expected to go in the 5-10 range of the lottery.

Carter, 6’10” and projected as an NBA center, averaged 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds a game for Duke last season. He’s physical and likes to bang inside, his game is a bit old-school that way, but he also started last season to show the skills of a modern NBA big — he only took 1.3 threes a game at Duke but hit 41 percent of them. Defensively he’s got a 7’3″ wingspan he can block shots in the paint and protect the rim, and he plays with a high basketball IQ. He knows how to play to his strengths as a bruiser.

What he’s not is an explosive athlete or a guy with quick feet (Mike Krzyzewski played zone at Duke this season in part because he couldn’t trust Bagley and Carter in man-to-man). He is athletic, he can finish around the rim, but he’s not elite at it. He’s going to have to show he can develop as a guy who is a threat on the roll or the pop after setting a pick.

Carter is going to go top 10 in this draft and get his chance at the next level, and if you’re going to go that high you should come out after your freshman season as he did.

It may be moot, but Kawhi Leonard now eligible for super-max contract with Spurs

Getty Images
3 Comments

Early on in the Kawhi Leonard saga with the Spurs, there was a sense in some (even many) quarters of the NBA world that the two sides would work things out. Why? Because the Spurs can offer Leonard way more money than anybody else — $221 million. That’s thanks to the “Kevin Durant rule” added to the most recent CBA that allows the team that drafted a player who meets the criteria (twice All-NBA, MVP, etc.) to get 35 percent of the salary cap at a younger age.

Money did not solve this problem — Leonard and the Spurs are farther apart than ever.

That said, Leonard did just become eligible on Sunday for that massive payday. From Bobby Marks of ESPN.

Kawhi Leonard is now super max eligible (third year anniversary of the contract signed on July 16, 2015) to receive a five-year $221 million extension from the Spurs. If Leonard is traded, the most he could receive in an extension (six months after the trade) would be $108 million over four-years (starting in 2019-20). Leonard would be eligible to sign a five-year $190 million contract as a free agent with the team acquiring him or four-years $141 million with a team that has cap space. Leonard would not be super max eligible as a free agent with the new team acquiring him even if he earned All-NBA honors in 2018-19.

Leonard is still trying to force a trade, and that remains at a standstill.

Where do things stand? Everyone involved is waiting for someone else to blink

San Antonio is waiting for the L.A. Lakers or Philadelphia (or anyone else, such as Toronto) to make what they see as an acceptable offer. Those other teams are holding out their best trade pieces — the Lakers with both Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, the Sixers with Markelle Fultz, etc. — waiting for the Spurs to accept less, closer to what recent big name player trades (DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George) went for. Complicating it all is Leonard’s inexperienced management team, which does not have long-standing relationships with teams, has communicated different things at times, and teams just do not know if they can trust them.

There are conflicting reports and I’ve heard conflicting things from sources, down to the most fundamental issues: Does Leonard want to be a Laker, or does he not want to play with LeBron? Whatever the answer, every day this drags out the Spurs lose leverage.

Even so, this could drag out into training camp. Or longer.

Grizzlies sign second-round pick Jevon Carter to multiyear contract

Associated Press
1 Comment

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies have signed second-round pick Jevon Carter to a multiyear deal.

Terms of the contract announced Sunday were not disclosed, but Carter himself confirmed the deal.

Carter has impressed at NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and in Utah. His dogged, aggressive defense has slowed players — Trae Young had some of his worst games against Carter — and on offense his game has improved, including him dropping 26 points on the Jazz recently.

Carter was taken with the No. 32 pick after winning the Naismith defensive player of the year last season at West Virginia. The point guard was second in the nation with 3.03 steals per game and is the Mountaineers’ career leader in that category.

“Ray Allen from long distance” with chip shot to save par at American Century Classic

Leave a comment

“Ray Allen from long distance, how many times have we said that?”

Ray Allen had a good weekend at the American Century Championships, the former NBA sharpshooter and future Hall of Famer finished third in the celebrity golf event. One of the reasons he was there, this chip shot on 13 Sunday.

Former Cowboy’s quarterback Tony Romo won the event, with former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder was second.

LeBron James sits courtside for Lakers’ Summer League win

Getty Images
2 Comments

There are two, maybe three guys playing for the Lakers in Summer League likely to be sharing a locker room with LeBron James next season — Isaac Bonga and Josh Hart, with maybe Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and/or Alex Caruso. Only Hart could see the court much.

LeBron was still courtside on Sunday for a quarterfinal game at Summer League, showing his support and being a good teammate. He gave Hart a hug on the court. Brandon Ingram stopped by and talked with LeBron for a bit.

LeBron watched the Lakers continue their strong run through the Summer League, racking up a 101-78 win. LeBron was into it, when Mykhailiuk took a shot midway through the first quarter LeBron yelled, ‘cash only!”  The shot was nothing but net.

The Lakers are on to the Summer League semifinals. Los Angeles won the Vegas Summer League last year.