Even with the conference finals going on, the NBA’s eyes turn to the future this week.
A future that, perhaps, will have less tanking.
The draft lottery — the last before changes come next year to dissuade tanking — is Tuesday night, and then about 70 players will partake in the draft combine that starts on Wednesday. Those events are both happening in Chicago, as are some various league meetings such as a gathering of NBA general managers and other front-office executives.
But the biggest news will be made by 14 pingpong balls that will decide who drafts No. 1 next month.
“We’ve got to see what happens in the lottery first and see where our position is,” Memphis executive vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger said. “That’s going to dictate a lot of the decisions that come after that and how we use our time after that.”
Phoenix has a 25 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick, followed by Memphis (19.9 percent), Dallas (13.8 percent) and Atlanta (13.7 percent). The rest of the candidates for No. 1 are Orlando (8.8 percent), Chicago (5.3), Sacramento (5.3), Cleveland (2.8), New York (1.7), Philadelphia (1.1), Charlotte (0.8), Detroit (0.7), the Los Angeles Clippers (0.6) and Denver (0.5).
Many of those teams were at the center of tanking questions this season. Now they’ll see if it pays off.
“We did this year what we felt was in the long-term best interest of the Bulls,” Chicago vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said. “It’s not a situation that any of us want to ever be in again. And it goes against everything as a competitive person that you believe in. But it’s the way the system’s set up.”
For now. The NBA is changing the system.
Starting in 2019, with the NBA hoping that teams have less incentive to strive for the worst record and therefore the best chance of winning the lottery, the odds will be changing. The three teams with the worst regular-season record will each have a 14 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick, the fourth-worst team will have a 12.5 percent chance and the fifth-worst 10.5 percent.
“My sense is we’re still going to have some work to do,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said.
Tanking got plenty of attention this season, and a few minutes on Jan. 29 might have decided the race.
Phoenix and Memphis played that night. The Grizzlies scored 42 points in the second quarter – their only 40-point period all season — and forced the Suns into 10 consecutive misses in one stretch, on the way to a 120-109 win.
The Suns finished one game worse than the Grizzlies. Flip that Jan. 29 outcome, and it would been the Grizzlies with the best chance at the No. 1 pick.
“The league has been beating us up right now,” said Phoenix guard Devin Booker, who hasn’t come even close to making the playoffs and is already on the fourth head coach of his three-year career now that the Suns have hired Igor Kokoskov. “But I think it’s going to be motivational for us. I know for myself, working out, I think about that all the time. I never want to be in these situations again.”
The new lottery format isn’t the only looming change related to drafts. It seems likely that by 2020, the one-and-done rule — in place since 2006 — will be gone and players will be allowed to jump from high school directly to the NBA again.
If that was the case this season, the rights to draft phenoms like R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cameron Reddish would probably be decided by those pingpong balls in Chicago on Tuesday. Instead, they’re all going to Duke this fall.
So they won’t be at the combine, nor will the likely top two picks in the June 21 draft – Arizona’s Deandre Ayton, and Slovenia’s Luka Doncic. Ayton declined the invitation to participate in Chicago, and Doncic’s season in Europe isn’t over yet.
“We sort of expected this, that we might not see the top couple guys there,” Hollinger said. “So we just have to adjust from that and get our information in other ways.”
Toronto Raptors officially sign center Greg Monroe
The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have signed centre Greg Monroe. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Greg is a proven big man in this league,” said Raptors General Manager Bobby Webster. “We believe Greg’s experience will be a great addition to not only our frontcourt, but to our team culture as we continue to build towards our goal of an NBA championship.”
Spotted: 6-11, 265lb Moose has made his way north.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 14, 2018
Monroe, 6-foot-11, 265 pounds, averaged 10.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 20.4 minutes in 51 games (14 starts) with Milwaukee, Phoenix and Boston last season. He shot .565 (218-386) from the field and recorded nine double-doubles. Monroe appeared in 11 postseason games with the Celtics, averaging 4.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 9.5 minutes.
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Monroe owns career averages of 13.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 28.9 minutes in 589 NBA games (415 starts) with Detroit, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Boston. He has averaged at least 10.0 points in each of the last seven seasons.
Monroe was originally selected by the Pistons with the seventh overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. He played collegiately at Georgetown, posting averages of 14.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 32.6 minutes in 65 career games (2008-10). Monroe was named First Team All-Big East as a sophomore and selected Big East Rookie of the Year his freshman season.
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Report: Carmelo Anthony plans to sign one-year deal with Houston Rockets today
The union between the Houston Rockets and Carmelo Anthony is expected to officially begin sometime today. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets plan to ink Anthony to his one-year, $2.4 million deal soon.
Free agent forward Carmelo Anthony plans to sign his one-year, $2.4 million contract with the Houston Rockets on Monday, league sources told ESPN.
Anthony has traveled to Houston, and will finish his physical Monday before signing the contract, league sources said.
Anthony, 34, also received $25.4 million of his original 2018-19 salary — minus a $2.4 million contract buyout with the Atlanta Hawks.
Anthony met with GM Daryl Morey and coach Mike D’Antoni in Las Vegas during summer league. The Thunder granted permission to do, once the sides decided that a parting was imminent. Anthony had also met with the Miami Heat, and considered signing there.
Anthony was waived by the Atlanta Hawks on July 30, after being traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder on July 19. Per various reports, the veteran forward is expected to join Chris Paul, James Harden and the Rockets now that he has officially entered the free-agent player pool. According to Wojnarowski, the contract is expected to be a one-year deal worth $2.4 million.
On Aug. 7, Charania confirmed Anthony and the Rockets verbally agreed to a deal that Anthony will sign when he returns from an offseason trip to Africa.
Anthony’s lone season in Oklahoma City was largely a bust. He averaged 16.2 points and struggled at times in his new role alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George. The 10-time All-Star posted career lows in scoring average and field goal percentage, and the Thunder were ousted in the first round of the playoffs by Utah.
The 34-year-old Anthony had been the headliner his entire career — he’s 19th in NBA history with 25,417 points — but he was more of a catch-and-shoot scorer last season instead of the isolation specialist he had always been. His playing time dwindled in the playoffs. In Game 6 of the first-round series against Utah that ended Oklahoma City’s season, he played fewer minutes than reserve Jerami Grant. After the season, he said he prefers to play with the ball in his hands more and said coming off the bench is “out of the question.”
Anthony opted in earlier this summer to accept the $28 million he was due next season. The Thunder re-signed Grant, then it was reported that Anthony and the Thunder would eventually part ways, though it was unclear how it would happen.
Anthony would help the Rockets fill their void at forward after the team lost Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute during free agency.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Report: Michael Porter Jr. pain free after second surgery
Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. says he’s pain free and hopes to be ready for the start of the upcoming season in mid-October following his second back surgery, ESPN reported on Sunday.
Porter Jr. entered college at Missouri last fall as one of the top prospects in his freshman class. But back woes limited him to just three appearances as he fell to Denver with the 14th pick in the 2018 draft.
Diagnosed with two bulging discs, Porter Jr. said it wasn’t until his second spinal surgery in July that he finally felt complete relief following an initial procedure last November.
“I don’t have a date but I’m hoping to be back for the beginning of the year,” Porter Jr. told ESPN. “Gotta heal up, but I feel great. I’m able to get on the court a little bit right now, do some different things. But my rehab has definitely been very conservative. They’re really taking it easy with me, being patient with me.”
Indeed, Nuggets president Josh Kroenke had hinted after the draft that, if necessary, Porter Jr. would skip his entire rookie season if that’s what it took to get completely healthy.
But now it seems they’ll be able to add the 6-foot-10 sharpshooter sooner rather than later to an already potent team that ranked sixth in offensive efficiency at 112.5 points per 100 possessions last season.
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