NBA PM: Is Deron Williams Demanding Dwight Howard?
Nets fans from Newark to Brooklyn probably felt like they took a punch to the gut this morning.
Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Deron Williams would sign elsewhere this season even if the team lands the top pick—and the right to draft Kentucky sensation Anthony Davis—at tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery.
“It’s Dwight Howard or bust,” a league source who has spoken to Williams told Wojnarowski.
Seeing as the Nets have just a 7.5% chance of winning the lottery, this threat doesn’t seem too consequential—but it also might not be entirely accurate either.
League sources have told HOOPSWORLD that Williams never insisted upon Howard’s presence as a condition for him to re-sign Nets. Team officials know that Williams needs the Nets to be competitive for him to stay in Brooklyn, but the All-Star point guard has never given the “Howard or bust” demand to general manager Billy King.
Furthermore, Williams emphatically told the media on May 23rd that he doesn’t know where he’s going and he’s grown frustrated with the speculation and sourcing in the media that claims he’s already come to a decision on his future.
If the report is right, though, there is still a silver lining for Nets fans. Wojnarowski wrote that Howard “regrets forgoing his early termination option on his 2012-2013 contract, and wants a trade before next season,” so the Nets are seemingly still in the running for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, and, by extension, would have a chance to bring Williams back.
They might have to part with Brook Lopez in a trade for Howard. Or, if they land a top-three pick (which would liberate them from forking over their first-round selection to the Portland Trail Blazers as part of the Gerald Wallace trade) they could simply send that to Orlando.
In either case, Wojnarowski’s Wednesday morning story was not an obituary for the Brooklyn Nets 2012-2013 season.
(UPDATE: Deron Williams seemed to confirm on his Twitter account what HOOPSWORLD had already been told : “I would love to know who Adrian Wojnarowski source is bc he knows more about what I’m thinking then I do. maybe they can help me decide?”)
Draft Profile: Yancy Gates
When New Mexico State’s Troy Gillenwater sat with a minor injury at Tuesday’s rookie workout at the New York Knicks’ facility in Tarrytown, NY, former Cincinnati big man Yancy Gates knew he wouldn’t be able to rest.
There were only six players working out to begin with, so when Gillenwater went down, Gates and former Gonzaga center Robert Sacre were left without a substitute.
“I think it was a twist, especially for me and (Sacre) because we have no substitute so we went every game two-on-two and the guards got to interchange. So down (at) the end it got a little tough,” Gates said afterward. “But that’s what we’re here for—to show we can push through things like that and not only show our skill but show our toughness.”
For Gates, the exhausting workout was exactly what he needed to show scouts. Listed at 6-9, 260 pounds, Gates swelled up to 285 pounds at the Portsmouth Invitational last month, but now he claims to have lost “about 17 pounds” and is down to 270. The weight loss has already started to quell concerns about his conditioning.
Gates plans on continuing to lose weight, but he knows his game is predicated on power, so he can’t shed all of his mass.
“Because my game is based on being strong and physical, 260, 265 wouldn’t be too little, it’d be just right to be able to make it through an 82 game season and still be out there and be able to impose my physical strength,” Gates said.
“I don’t think they’re expecting us to be in NBA game shape right now but from where I was when the first saw me out in Portsmouth to now, I think they see a big difference and it shows the hard work I’ve been putting in.”
Like Ben Wallace or Udonis Haslem, Gates feels capable of playing both power forward and center because, even though he’d be looking up at most NBA big men, he has the strength “to be able to guard and hold a center off.”
And like Wallace, Gates isn’t the most skilled player. He made a career-high 60.4 percent of his free throws as a senior, and even though he usually shot the ball in the paint, Gates made just 47.4% of his field goals for the Bearcats last season.
Gates, a native of Cincinnati, did grab 8.9 rebounds per game last season and has the lateral quickness to defend 4s, so he could be a valuable bench player for an NBA team.
“If you watched us play at Cincinnati, we really weren’t a fill-up-the-rim (team) unless we were hitting that night,” Gates said. “We relied on playing defense and… playing for a defensive-minded coach would fit right in to what I’m used to.”
Gates, who speaks with Bearcats coach Mick Cronin often, still has workouts with the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls and he’s already worked out for the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors. Perhaps the best news for Gates is that the infamous UC-Xavier brawl hasn’t been an issue. He served a six-game suspension for his role in the fight, but now he sees the entire incident as being in the past.
“I kind of talked about it so much that if they have a question I probably already answered it somewhere but when they ask I just answer openly and honestly,” he said. “I think it’s one of those things that I dealt with it while it was in front of me and now I’ve been able to move on and put it behind me so I just keep moving forward in my career.”
Gates isn’t projected as a first-round pick, but his defense, rebounding and versatility make him an intriguing second-round option.
Draft Profile: J’Covan Brown
Texas combo guard J’Covan Brown also worked out for the Knicks on Tuesday, and he’s out to prove he’s more than just an undersized shooting guard.
“Whatever coach wants me to do,” the 6-2 Brown said when asked which spot he prefers. “I’m that type of player. I’m a team player. It’s always team first with me so whatever coach feels like I should do, I’m willing to do it. If he wants me to walk over water, I’d do it, just to be on a team and just say I’m a part of a big team like this.
“I was a point guard, shooting guard, small forward. I was one, two and three but like I said, wherever coach puts me I’m willing to play it.”
Brown averaged 20.1 points on 41.7% field goal shooting with the Longhorns last season and made 36.9% of his 3-pointers and 86.3% of his free throws.
He admits he has to get “smarter and quicker on the defensive end,” but still insists he can defend multiple positions.
Brown still has workouts with the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Atlanta Hawks. He says he’s “ready to get it over with,” but insists the entire draft process is still “fun.”
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