NBA Rumors: Analyzing Buzz on RJ Hampton, Warriors Draft Targets, More

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2020

NBA Rumors: Analyzing Buzz on RJ Hampton, Warriors Draft Targets, More

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    Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

    The 2019-20 NBA season may be over, but league business is far from over.

    Right now, teams are laser-focused on the draft and what it can mean for improving their respective rosters.

    And while there's no clear-cut No. 1 overall pick in this class (read: there's no Zion Williamson or Ja Morant on the board), that doesn't mean that there's a dearth of intrigue.

    Multiple front offices are mulling whether or not they should move up or move down, make deals and swaps or trade their pick altogether.

    Here's the latest rumors circling around the draft and potentials trades that have bubbled up to surface.

RJ Hampton Could Land in New York

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    Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

    For RJ Hampton, where he lands is going to come down to a numbers game.

    Sure, he's worked out well with New York Knicks forward Julius Randle and interviewed with the team's new head coach Tom Thibodeau, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he's jumping into the Top 10.

    According to the New York Post's Marc Berman, the Knicks don't think Hampton warrants their No. 8 pick, but they have "seriously" considered trading back and taking him if he falls to No. 19.

    That strategy could prove difficult, however, considering that the Brooklyn Nets own the 19th pick and they are "extremely interested" in the Dallas native.

    Hampton's connection to Brooklyn's not exactly arbitrary either, because the team's GM Sean Marks is from Auckland, New Zealand and the 19-year old guard played for the New Zealand Breakers instead of going to college.

    The 6-foot-5 prospect didn't get the shine he was hoping for during his professional debut, averaging only 8.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.

    Hampton is hailed for his size, length and athleticism, but one of his biggest flaws has been his jump shot.

    Acutely aware that he needed to improve his jumper, he sought the help of Mike Miller this offseason and according to the results have reportedly impressed scouts.

    "With him and the way he plays, if he shoots—which I’m pretty confident in—in the next 2-3 years he’ll be a high 30s, low 40s percent 3-point shooter," Miller told SNY's Ian Begley. "He’ll be one of the best guards in the league."

    That's definitely a weighty prediction on Hampton's future, but one that Knicks and Nets' fans are likely excited about.

Warriors Looking at Prospects in the No. 8 to 10 Range

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    Michael Woods/Associated Press

    The Golden State Warriors are in a very unique position.

    They were one of the worst teams in the league last season, but not because they didn't have talent.

    Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry were both out with injuries and Draymond Green was left to play with an unrecognizable team.

    With the Splash Brothers ready to come back, Golden State is projected to be a team that will compete in the Western Conference again, so they can be very selective with their No. 2 pick overall.

    Teams around the league know this, which makes them an ideal trade partner.

    The Warriors seem to be more than willing to trade down based on their due diligence leading up to the draft.

    According to SNY's Ian Begley, they have seen players projected in the Top 5, including James Wiseman, but have also been in "close contact" with those in the No. 8 to 10 range.

    He further reported that Golden State is doing their homework on guys that are lower in the draft and are open to the idea of trading down.

    If the Warriors do make a deal, one of the players they should take a long, hard look at is Isaac Okoro, who is said to be the best defender in this class.

    In fact, he's been compared to Andre Iguodala, who was a cornerstone player for the franchise.

    Iggy was able to guard multiple positions on the floor, including LeBron James and Golden State could definitely use a defender of that caliber as it looks to regain its footing as one of the premier teams in the West.

    "He would come in humbly and just listen and learn," Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl told Wes Goldberg of The Mercury News. "But try to find a way where you had to start him."

Will Kings Trade Hield?

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    Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

    Buddy Hield is not happy.

    He's not happy with the Sacramento Kings front office and he's not happy with the head coach Luke Walton.

    The first domino to fall was his contentious contract negotiations with then general manager Vlade Divac.

    Hield felt insulted by the contract extension offer, but eventually signed a four-year, $94 million deal to stay in Sacromento.

    Then the second domino fell when he was replaced in the starting lineup with Bogdan Bogdanovic.

    As a result, Hield hasn't been returning Walton's messages, setting off alarms.

    But as much as Hield is disgruntled, he's not trade bait just yet.

    According to Sean Deveney of Forbes, the Kings aren't eager to send him away.

    "I think it makes a lot of sense, them trying to move him, start with a clean slate, they were better without him in the starting five, all of that," one general manager told Deveney. "The logic is there. But there does not seem to be a lot of action there, not yet at least. It is not something where they seem to be shopping him very actively. Maybe it would be better to wait, to see how the season starts, but I don’t get the sense that they’re out there really laying the groundwork for a deal. They’re just not yet shopping him."

    For his part, new GM Monte McNair is saying all the right things about Hield, who has a career 41.1 percent shooting average from the 3-point line.

    "Buddy is an incredible young talent," McNair said. "I think we all know in this league, spacing is of the utmost importance and Buddy is one of the elite shooters in the league and we’re going to be able to utilize that skillset as we implement our system."

    Shooters like Hield don't grow on trees, so it will be interesting to see if the Kings can reel him back into the fold, because they're going to need his shooting to compete in the loaded West.

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