Warriors

NBA Draft Lottery 2019: Pelicans win Zion Williamson draw for No. 1 pick

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AP

NBA Draft Lottery 2019: Pelicans win Zion Williamson draw for No. 1 pick

In all likelihood, Zion Williamson will begin his career in the Big Easy.

That's because the New Orleans Pelicans won Tuesday night's NBA draft lottery. The Duke superstar is expected by many to be the top pick in next month's draft, and the Pelicans will be able to call Williamson's name at the podium June 20 in Brooklyn. New Orleans had the seventh-best odds of the 14 teams in the lottery, with a six percent chance of winning. 

Here are the full results of Tuesday's draft lottery. 

1. New Orleans Pelicans
2. Memphis Grizzlies
3. New York Knicks
4. Los Angeles Lakers
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
6. Phoenix Suns
7. Chicago Bulls
8. Atlanta Hawks
9. Washington Wizards
10. Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas Mavericks)
11. Minnesota Timberwolves
12. Charlotte Hornets
13. Miami Heat
14. Boston Celtics (via Kings)

The Kings would've picked No. 14 overall in this draft, but forfeited their pick after trading former first-round pick Nik Stauskas to the Philadelphia 76ers in order to pursue free agents in the summer of 2015. The 76ers then traded that pick to the Boston Celtics at the 2017 NBA Draft, moving back from the No. 1 spot while Philadelphia moved up to pick former University of Washington guard Markelle Fultz. Both the Kings and Sixers probably are kicking themselves for said trades, as either team would have been able to add a cost-controlled player to their roster ahead of pivotal summers.  

[RELATED: Watch Dell, Sonya flip coin to see who roots for Steph, Seth]

The Knicks won't be able to pick Williamson, and that's good news for the Warriors. Kevin Durant might or might not have his heart set on going to New York this summer -- depending upon who you ask -- but the Knicks' ability to surround Durant with talent just got more difficult. New York still has more salary-cap space than anyone else, but a trade package for disgruntled Pelicans star Anthony Davis won't be as enticing with Williamson already in New Orleans. The Knicks can still easily sign another star with Durant, but their path to NBA Finals contention won't be a straight line. 

The Lakers did not land Williamson, but they will be able to add a young cost-controlled player to their lineup to play with LeBron James. Depending on who they select at No. 4 -- NBC Sports California's James Ham predicts they'll select Jarrett Culver out of Texas Tech -- they might even have a more enticing trade package to land disgruntled Davis in a trade. Whether the Warriors lose Durant or not, a James-Davis combination would pose problems for the reigning champions.

The Kings, meanwhile, would then have yet one more team in a loaded Western Conference to fend off as they try to return to the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2006. The Lakers' pick is no guarantee that Davis is headed to Hollywood, but the possibility at least has to be considered. 

The worst news for the Warriors and Kings, though, is that they'll play Williamson at least three times a year for the foreseeable future. The Warriors' stranglehold on the Western Conference could loosen if Durant walks in free agency, while the Kings would have another up-and-coming team to contend with as they try to return to the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2006. 

Chris Paul refutes multiple reports he demanded Rockets trade him

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USATSI

Chris Paul refutes multiple reports he demanded Rockets trade him

The rumors started eight days ago. All-Star point guard Chris Paul "wants out" of Houston, Stephen A. Smith reported.

Since then, there have multiple reports of chaos within the Rockets organization, one that even stated Paul's relationship with NBA MVP James Harden is 'unsalvageable.'

But on Sunday, Paul tried to put all those rumors to bed.

“I never asked for a trade,” Paul told The Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen. “I never demanded a trade.”

Trading Paul would be difficult for Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. Paul still is owed more than $124 million over the next three seasons, and finding a team that can take on that kind of salary for an aging point guard would be tough.

As for the reported rift with Harden, Paul claimed he's not unhappy in his current situtation.

“I’ll be in Houston,” Paul told Feigen. “I’m happy about that. I’m very happy about that. I’m good.”

[RELATED; Morey shoots down CP3 trade request rumor]

The Rockets gave the Warriors a good battle in each of the last two postseasons. With Golden State nursing its wounds during the 2019-20 season, this might be Houston's chance to pounce and get to the NBA Finals.

We'll find out over the next few weeks if Paul is telling the truth or if the whispers of his unhappiness actually were true.

NBA rumors: Kawhi Leonard 'seriously considering re-signing' with Raptors

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USATSI

NBA rumors: Kawhi Leonard 'seriously considering re-signing' with Raptors

The Kawhi Leonard-Toronto Raptors marriage might not be a one-year fling after all.

Yahoo's Chris Haynes reported Sunday that the 2019 NBA Finals MVP will decline his $21.3 million player option for the 2019-20 season, but that Leonard is "seriously considering re-signing with the Raptors."

Most experts have been predicting that Leonard will bolt Toronto for one of the Los Angeles teams. But Haynes' reporting changes things a bit.

Haynes also reported that rival front-office executives view the Raptors as the favorites to land Leonard.

The Raptors can offer Leonard a five-year, $190 million contract, according to Haynes.

[RELATED: Curry vows to not let Warriors' run end]

While the Warriors likely aren't in the mood for any Kawhi-related news, considering he just ended their bid for a three-peat, they have to be excited at the thought of Leonard not joining the Pacific Division.

Leonard put on a dominating performance against the Warriors in the NBA Finals, as he averaged 28.5 points and 9.8 rebounds over the six games.