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Official Draft Thread

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Hawks draftee Alpha Kaba embracing Mr. Irrelevant tag, NBA opportunity


Zach Dillard @Zach_Dillard FOX Sports South

FOX Sports  


The plane landed around 4 a.m. local time in Belgrade, Serbia. Alpha Kaba was experiencing an adrenaline rush.

After spending nearly two weeks in the United States working out for seven teams, the French product and 6-foot-10 Adriatic League standout was eagerly checking his phone as the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft started. Kaba, admittedly stressed, had been monitoring the event throughout the nine-hour flight. He and his Mega Leks teammates were still available.

“We just take our baggage, take a taxi, go home straight to see the end of the draft,” Kaba said. “I see my man getting drafted at (pick No.) 49, Vlatko Cancar. My man Ognjen Jaramaz (at) 58 with the Knicks. I was so happy and just called him (to say), ‘What’s up.’”

Reality set in: There are only 60 total selections in the draft.

“And then I realized I wasn’t drafted yet, you know? I realized I wasn’t drafted yet so I was pretty scared,” Kaba continued. I just like saw 59, still not drafted. And then I see 60 and I can’t explain the feeling I had.”

Atlanta’s new-look front office, helmed by former Warriors executive Travis Schlenk, made Kaba the 2017 version of the NBA’s Mr. Irrelevant. The 20-year-old wears the distinction with joyful pride, aiming to join a list of productive 60th overall picks from Michael Cooper to Drazen Petrovic to current Celtics star Isaiah Thomas.

Kaba’s phone bill can attest to his enthusiasm. When news of the Hawks’ pick reached his TV set, he dialed his family, his best friend, his agent — practically everyone of note: “To share with them, that was like the craziest moment in my life. I think I didn’t sleep all day. That was really a special moment for me.”

Neighbors in his Belgrade apartment complex can also vouch for the big man’s excitement.

“I think I even woke up my neighbors because I was screaming in my apartment,” Kaba continued, “so I think like all the building was awake because of me.”

The Hawks introduced Kaba alongside earlier picks John Collins and Tyler Dorsey on Monday morning, but while the American college standouts should follow fairly clear-cut paths to the world’s top league — with the occasional rookie rite of passage through the rebranded G League — Kaba’s immediate future is up in the air. The current plan is to play in Summer League with his fellow draftees, undrafted free agents and additional Hawks developmental projects before reevaluating his status with his agent and the coaches. In other words, his time in Las Vegas will give him a better sense of where he stacks up against NBA-caliber competition. There’s a good chance he could return to play in Serbia next season, following the draft-and-stash model.

Still, Atlanta’s front office sees upside in a forward/center who put up 10.9 points and 7.5 rebounds in a competitive league at 20 years old.

“His length with a 7-5 wingspan, his ability to rebound, his ability to run,” Schlenk said when asked about Kaba’s strengths. “He’s got a really nice touch on his jump shot that we feel like we can develop.”

The ocean-hopping draft night was a step forward for Kaba, who worked out for teams but withdrew his name from previous drafts. Following years of watching recorded NBA games and highlights the next morning in France and Serbia, Kaba is inching closer to a destination he’s eyed since watching his uncle play pro ball.

“Some people might say the 60th pick isn’t something special,” Kaba said. “But yes, it is something special because you are in the 60 players who have the opportunity to be drafted and have the opportunities to play in the Summer League and everything, to show up.

“It’s really really the best thing I could have asked for.”


© 2017 Fox Sports Interactive Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

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NBA Rumors: Latest Free-Agent Buzz on Blake Griffin, Paul Millsap and More


Chris Roling

Bleacher Report | June 27, 2017


It'd be a mistake to consider this summer a down year for NBA free agency.

Yes, the summer of 2017 is sandwiched between Kevin Durant's trip to the market and another one for LeBron James when he assuredly exercises his player option in 2018.

But rest assured teams won't view 2017 as a down year. The Golden State Warriors have helped create an arms race of sorts and the market will feature names such as Gordon Hayward, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kyle Lowry and more.

In other words, it isn't much of a surprise to see the rumor mill alight with seemingly countless rumblings right now heading into the deepest part of summer. Let's step back and review some of the notables in an effort to keep up.

J.J. Redick Bidding War?

Lost in the hype of both Paul and Griffin potentially leaving the Los Angeles Clippers is 33-year-old J.J. Redick perhaps doing the same.

It's a bigger hit for the Clippers than most might think—rather than fade as he ages, Redick has almost grown in importance while his career weaves through an Association placing a bigger and bigger emphasis on shooting from three-point range.

Redick shoots 41.5 percent from deep for his career, so it explains why The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor hears a pair of teams might gun hard for him in free agency:

"Multiple league sources I’ve spoken to expect the Sixers and Nets to make a hard push at Redick. Were he to go to either of those teams, Redick could receive an opportunity unlike anything he’s had before. He is one of the greatest 3-point shooters in league history, and is coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high six 3-point attempts per game."

Both destinations make plenty of sense. The Philadelphia 76ers look like one of this offseason's biggest winners after slapping Markelle Fultz alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. But better floor spacing via sharpshooting from the 2 or 3 would provide a boon for the young weapons.

The Brooklyn Nets might be impossible to outbid, though. This looks like the offseason Brooklyn makes a big splash or two in an effort to jump-start a rebuild despite the lack of notable picks or free-agent allure thanks to past mistakes.

Overpaying a solid veteran like Redick after trading for D'Angelo Russell seems like a move the Nets might make right about now. His shooting would give some much-needed space to Russell and the budding Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, not to mention perhaps keeping the team away from serious overbidding on restricted free agents.

No matter where he ends up, it's worth keeping an eye on Redick and the market price he sets.

Cleveland and Buyouts

The aforementioned arms race started by the Warriors might have the Cleveland Cavaliers taking an interesting angle this summer: buyouts.

LeBron clearly needs upgrades around him after the beating his team took in the Finals. In the perfect world, the Cavaliers would strike a deal with the Indiana Pacers for Paul George and PG13's defensive efforts on Kevin Durant would let LeBron once again run wild on the offensive end of the court.

But it's never so simple and the Cavaliers don't exactly have a ton of assets to work with, so's Marc Stein suggested they're looking at other options:

That's certainly one way to go about improving the roster, provided the buyouts happen.

It's not impossible to see both Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade become free agents this offseason.

The New York Knicks and Carmelo have seemed headed for a split since the start of the offseason, especially thanks to odd comments from team president Phil Jackson. Wade, on the other hand, just picked up his $24 million player option, but the Chicago Bulls committed to a full-blown rebuild days earlier by trading Jimmy Butler and that option is a relic from a time when the front office wanted to stay in win-now mode by bringing the 35-year-old guard on board.

Interestingly enough, both Carmelo and Wade don't do much for the Cavaliers in the way George would as described above. They almost do the inverse, where the offense provided might help LeBron better focus on the defensive end of the court.

These possible buyouts could help the Cavaliers form oft-thought about dream teams, but one has to wonder if it's too late to counter what the Warriors have built.

Blake Griffin-Paul Millsap Market Catches Fire

Both Griffin and Paul Millsap have the Denver Nuggets to thank for an increasing stock market sure to gift them more money than initially thought.

In an effort to beef up the talent at the 4 next to budding star Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets will target both veterans in free agency, according to's Marc Stein and Chris Haynes: "Denver, according to sources, also hopes to crash the list of suitors for Los Angeles Clippers unrestricted free agent Blake Griffin and Atlanta Hawks unrestricted free agent Paul Millsap.‎"

Talk about an interesting turn of events. Most speculation slotted Griffin with a team like the Boston Celtics, not an up-and-coming roster in the Western Conference. Still, it's not hard to see why the Nuggets might have an interest considering he's still 28 years old and coming off a season in which he averaged 21.6 points per game over 61 contests.

Still, there's inherent risk for both sides. The Nuggets would likely need to hit Griffin with the max, which is scary considering he's played in 67, 35 and 61 games over the past three years. And for Griffin, leaving the Clippers means going from $175 million to about $130 million in salary.

Similar complexities surround the pursuit of Millsap. He's 32 but less reliant on athleticism than Griffin, with his averages of 18.1 points and 7.7 boards a year ago proof enough age isn't much of a factor.

What is? The Atlanta Hawks sound like a rebuilding team wanting to get something for Millsap's departure, and the Nuggets have talked recently with the franchise about a sign and trade, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst (h/t Ryne Nelson of Slam Online).

At worst, these rumblings suggest the Nuggets as major players in free agency ready to make a big deal in an effort to climb the ladder in a deep conference. They also boast the fact both Griffin and Millsap will have bigger markets than expected.

Let the bidding wars begin.

All stats and info via unless otherwise specified.

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On 06/26/2017 at 11:13 AM, jidady said:

That would be a best case scenario for us. We could rebuild Aldridge's value.

If he didn't fit in Pop's system what makes you think he'll fit in with the Hawks?

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6 hours ago, JerseyNo12 said:

If he didn't fit in Pop's system what makes you think he'll fit in with the Hawks?

He was #59 in PER last year. It's not like he was terrible. What burnt him in Pop's eyes is that when the team was desperate in the playoffs, a dude making $20 million didn't step up. For the Hawks, anything Aldridge gave us in the playoffs would be a happy bonus. We're a fringe playoff team in a terrible conference, assuming Millsap leaves. If he can do 17 and 7 on a team with several superstars, I feel confident that with a higher usage rate, his stats would go up enough that we'd eventually profit on the transaction.

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