LeBron James sent shockwaves through the NBA when he announced this afternoon via a letter that he would be returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
I joined Justin Hull on The Home Stretch to talk about the letter, why returning to the Cavs was a wise move and how this will ripple through the rest of the NBA’s free agents over the next few days.
I joined Roger Lajoie on The Fan 590 to talk about Toronto re-signing Kyle Lowry and Patrick Patterson, how Masai Ujiri has set the Raptors for short-term and long-term success and I daydreamed about a big shakeup in South Beach.
“Even taking a little less money, this opportunity was too exciting to pass up. I’ve had a taste of the playoffs before, but being a part of this team will be just incredible. You get to a point where you really realize what’s important, and I was thinking: ‘What would my 12-year-old self have done? What would he prioritize?’ It was this opportunity and what they’re building with the Clippers.”
Spencer Hawes to Yahoo! Sports
I was a guest on Norm at Night on SiriusXM to talk about the crazy first week of the NBA’s Free Agency period. We talked about where Carmelo Anthony should sign, praised Toronto for re-signing Kyle Lowry, I explained why Bruno Caboclo wasn’t a reach at #20 and we talked about the three Canadians drafted in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft.
I joined Justin Hull on “The Home Stretch” to chat about what has been a wild and wacky week in the NBA. We talked about Jason Kidd ditching the Nets for the Bucks, I tried to predict where Carmelo Anthony would end up and we gave LeBron James props for his Decision a few years back.
Here are some photos Dante Exum celebrating after the 2014 NBA Draft at The Australian.
“For me, I’ll always go with the best (available) talent. We did our due diligence. I went to Brazil three times to see him. Jeff (Weltman) went a couple of times. Our scouts went a few times to see him. We felt comfortable. A few days ago we took Coach Casey and we worked him out in Houston. Coach Casey and Jama (Mahlalela) worked him out and felt comfortable, too.
“I’m not here trying to be popular; that’s not what’s important to me. I’m trying to look out for the organization long-term and I think long-term we’ll look at Bruno (Caboclo) and say at least he has a chance (to be something special).”
Masai Ujiri Talking About Critics Who Claimed Bruno Caboclo Was A Reach
Masai Ujiri told the media he’s not worried about making the popular pick, talked how he discovered Bruno Caboclo and explained that he felt Cabolco could make an impact on the team next season.
Dwane Casey talked with the media after the Toronto Raptors drafted Bruno Caboclo and DeAndre Daniels.
Casey raved about what he saw during a workout from Caboclo in Houston last week, admitted Toronto tried to grab Ennis and Caboclo, admitted Toronto was worried about Phoenix stealing Caboclo after Leandro Barbosa gave the Suns some valuable intel and he expects Caboclo to contribute next season for the Raptors.
Andrew Wiggins prepares for the 2014 NBA Draft with Drew Hanlen of Pure Sweat Basketball.
“I’m not putting my nuts on the line for this guy. I’m not drafting the next Tskitishvili. Now, the guys that saw him in Prague, if they’ve seen enough, then fine, but I can’t do it. There is no frame of reference. He’s going top five or six. But if you think it’s a lock to Orlando, they like [Marcus] Smart too. You can look like a hero or get fired taking this kid, that’s who he is. There are a lot of sexy things there. I’ve seen him practice, mostly against other Euros. I’ve seen Wiggins 15 times. It’s very hard for me. I didn’t go to Prague. I’m a Hoop Summit guy. It’s basically drafting a high school kid out of Australia. Not debating his athleticism. He’s a hard worker, smart. His dad played, so that helps with the transition if you are worried about that. It reminds me of Nikoloz Tskitishvili [drafted no. 5 in 2002] a little, but obviously not the same player.”
Anonymous NBA Scout talking to Ryne Russillo
1. Cleveland Cavaliers | Joel Embiid | C | Kansas | Yes, I know that injury issues might scare teams off, but the Cavs need to draft the best player, and the best player in this draft is Embiid. The chance to add Wiggins should be too much for the team to pass up, but with Anderson Varejao getting older – and already being injury-prone – they could draft Embiid as their center for the next decade… that is, assuming his body holds up. The past few drafts (Anthony Bennett and Dion Waiters) have shown this franchise is anything but predictable.
2. Milwaukee Bucks | Jabari Parker | SF | Duke | Parker might slip to Philly, but Parker is a “hometown” guy as he grew up just over a hour away from Milwaukee. He’s also the most NBA ready player in the draft and will average better than 20 points at least a handful of seasons in the NBA. Getting the chance to pair Parker with Giannis Antetokounmpo gives the Bucks a fantastic duo to build around.
3. Philadelphia 76ers | Andrew Wiggins | SF | Kansas | Somehow the player the Sixers covet will fall into their laps. Philly hasn’t been shy about their torrid love affair with Wiggins, and despite the Embiid question marks, they won’t have to trade up to get their man. Having the chance to build around current Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams, Noel and Wiggins is a great foundation for Philadelphia.
4. Orlando Magic | Dante Exum | PG | Australia | The chance to pair Victor Oladipo and Exum is a match made in heaven for the Orlando Magic. Julius Randle will probably win Rookie of the Year, but Exum is the better long-term fit.
5. Utah Jazz | Noah Vonleh | PF | Indiana | Utah will probably flip this pick for veteran help, but, if they do keep this pick, Vonleh could step in immediately and play alongside Derrick Favors. The two twin towers would give the Jazz a big edge on the glass. Julius Randle is the better player, but not a good fit on Utah’s roster.
6. Boston Celtics | Julius Randle | PF | Kentucky | This would be a great pick for the Celtics.. if they keep the pick. Look for Boston to be aggressive in trying to obtain Kevin Love and using this pick as leverage.
7. Los Angeles Lakers | Marcus Smart | PG | Oklahoma State | Smart is one tough hombre and he’s a sponge. Look for the Lakers to draft their point guard of the future and for Kobe Bryant to act as a great mentor for Smart.
8. Sacramento Kings | Aaron Gordon | PF | Arizona | Having Gordon drop to Sacramento – when he could go as high as #5 to Utah – is like manna falling from Heaven. Gordon is a bit undersized to play the 4 in the NBA, but when sandwiched between DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay he’ll fit in just fine. Gordon’s height (6’8″) scares me because he’ll have the dreaded tweener label, but at this point in the draft, he’s a nice pick.
9. Charlotte Bobcats | Dario Saric | PF | Croatia | I was tempted to give the Hornets another wing – Gary Harris and James Young are options here – but the Hornets need more bigs. Enter
10. Philadelphia 76ers | James Young | SF | Kentucky | Gary Harris is a player I’ve been high on all season, but his draft combine measurement of 6’2″ isn’t going to cut it in the NBA as a shooting guard… even if Philly’s point guard has height to spare. Young is a player who can step in right away and start for Philadelphia.
11. Denver Nuggets | Doug McDermott | SF | Creighton | This might be a bit high for McDermott, but he could also be great insurance for if danilo gallinari isn’t able to return to form after issues with his ACL’s that kept him off the court all of last season.
12. Orlando Magic | PJ Hairston | SG | NDBL | A bit of a stretch, but Orlando needs another young wing and Hairston is the best on the board.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves | Rodney Hood | SG | Duke | Kevin Martin will likely be packaged with Kevin Love this summer, so Hood could step in and start for Minnesota next season. Hood could also be long gone as he will be an option for Charlotte at #9 Philly at #10.
14. Phoenix Suns | Gary Harris | SG | Michigan State | Harris be a little small, but that won’t matter as the Suns rolled with two point guards for most of last season. He could act as insurance in case Eric Bledsoe bolts town or act as a perfect third guard.
15. Atlanta Hawks | T.J. Warren | SG | North Carolina State
16. Chicago Bulls | Nik Stauskas | SG | Michigan
17. Boston Celtics | Adreian Payne | PF | Michigan State
18. Phoenix Suns | Jerami Grant | SF | Syracuse
19. Chicago Bulls | Jusuf Nurkic | C | International
20. Toronto Raptors | Tyler Ennis | PG | Syracuse
21. Oklahoma City Thunder | Kyle Anderson | PG | UCLA
22. Memphis Grizzlies | Clint Capela | PF | Switzerland
23. Utah Jazz | Shabazz Napier | PG | UCONN
24. Charlotte Bobcats | K.J. McDaniels | SF | Clemson
25. Houston Rockets | Clearanthony Earl | SF | Wichita State
26. Miami Heat | Jahii Carson | PG | Arizona State
27. Phoenix Suns | Zach LaVine | SG | UCLA
28. Los Angeles Clippers | Spencer Dinwiddie | PG | Colorado
29. Oklahoma City Thunder | Damien Inglis | SG | France
30. San Antonio Spurs | Jabari Brown | SG | Missouri