The 2012 NBA Draft looks to be many things - most of all, rich with quality talent - but offering a deep array of international players is not one of them.Last season,six players from outside theUnited Stateswho never played college basketball for an NCAA program were drafted in the first round, including four of the first seven picks (hello, Jan Vesely). Current projections consistently have only one international player - France's Evan Fournier - in the upcoming first round.Fournier, 6-foot-7 swingman and the No. 22 overall pick in the latest mock draft from Draft Express, will be among the 45 prospects on hand for the pre-draft Adidas EuroCamp this month. Pro Basketball Talk notes several current NBAtalents came through this camp including Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka and Denver's Danilo Galinari.(While I intend on profiling around 15 or more prospects before the June 28 draft - starting today with UNC small forward Harrison Barnes -not sure if there will be much of an international flavor to the proceedings).Last year the Wizards sent VP of basketball administration Tommy Sheppard to the international event. Considering the team has two second-round picks and a host of young players already looking for minutes, it would be surprising to see the Wizards select a player they can stash overseas for a year or two.Based on Draft Express' two-round mock, other names to watch include Tomas Satoransky, a 6-foot-7 combo guard out of the Czech Republic; Greek small forward Kostas Papanikolaou; power forward Furkan Aldemir from Turkey; andpower forward Tornike Shengelia out of Georgia.No passport required to click here for a full list of players expected at the EuroCamp.
In just a few months, Nationals star Bryce Harper could become one of the biggest free agents not just in baseball history, but sports history. He will decide whether to stay in Washington with the team that drafted him and oversaw his development as a young player, or to leave for another city.
Wizards guard John Wall has twice faced the prospect of free agency and twice has decided to sign contract extensions to stay in D.C. Though the salary structures of baseball and basketball are different, there are some parallels between the two.
Wall has a unique perspective on the call Harper has to make and gave his opinion on the matter in a 1-on-1 interview on the latest episode of our Wizards Tipoff podcast.
"Well, it’s kind of tough. It depends on if you want to do it off of loyalty, or if you want to do it to make sure you make the most money you can make. That’s the toughest decision that you can have. I have the opportunity here where I have loyalty and I can also make the money, so that was a bonus and a plus for me in both situations," Wall said.
Wall noted how as an NBA player he can have the best of both worlds. The league's collective bargaining agreement allows teams to pay players they drafted significantly more money.
That, however, has not stopped NBA stars from changing teams. Wall in many ways is an outlier as many superstars have left money on the table to depart their original teams. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Paul George have all done that, to name a few. Kawhi Leonard could be next.
Harper, though, may also be able to make more money elsewhere. The Dodgers, Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox or some other team could conceivably offer more money than the Nats and there are some cities like L.A. and New York that could open up more endorsement opportunities.
There's no question it pays to be the best player on the Yankees. Look at Derek Jeter and how his stardom was boosted by that distinction.
Loyalty is also going to come into play for Harper and the past few days have shown he is a sentimental person, as he has talked about all the people he has connected with over the years and how much the Washington community means to him.
Wall took all of those things into account when he decided to stay in D.C. and not look elsewhere via free agency or trades, which have become commonplace for All-Star players in the NBA.
"It was how much what the city means to me is the reason I wanted to stay and what I want to bring here is a championship, it’s what I promise and I hope I can do that," Wall said. "My dad’s from here. Just the way they welcomed me from the first day I came here. Sticking with me through the tough times, when we wasn’t winning early on and then we started to win. The city just embraced me and I embraced the city back. It feels like home and I wouldn’t want to be nowhere else."
Though the difference in money likely won't be as drastic, Harper will have to choose how much loyalty and the human connection he has with people in Washington matters in his free agency decision. Wall knows the feeling.
Hear Wall's full 1-on-1 interview on our latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast:
After already making significant changes to their roster, the Wizards may not be done this offseason, as they have been in talks with the San Antonio Spurs about a potential trade for superstar Kawhi Leonard, according to a new report by ESPN
Read this from Adrian Wojnarowski:
Still, the bidding war among Boston, Philadelphia and the Lakers never materialized. The Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Phoenix, Portland, Toronto and Washington are among teams who've talked with San Antonio, league sources said.
The Wizards certainly make sense as a Leonard suitor. They are in the East, meaning the Spurs could trade Leonard to them and not have to worry about facing him as often. Plus, they have a solid group of tradeable assets and ones that seem to fit the Spurs model.
Otto Porter is a versatile, young player under team control who plays an unselfish style and would likely embrace playing in a small market. He also has a salary ($26M in 2018-19) that isn't far off from Leonard's ($21M in 2018-19), so the money could be easily matched.
The Wizards also have Tomas Satoransky and Kelly Oubre, Jr., two young and up-and-coming players. Plus, they have draft picks, though ones that are unlikely to convey as lottery selections.
The Spurs have reportedly been more interested in getting players that can help now rather than draft picks to rebuild. That makes sense, as they still won 47 games last year despite Leonard only playing in nine of them due to injury.
The question in any Wizards and Spurs talks would be whether they would want one of Washington's All-Stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal. It would be tough to imagine the Wizards parting with either guy for Leonard, who carries some risk not only because of his quadriceps injury but also because he can opt out of his contract and leave after next season.
Just because the Wizards have talked to the Spurs doesn't mean they are serious contenders for Leonard, but it does show they are serious about improving their roster this summer. If they got Leonard and didn't part with Wall and Beal, that would be some team.
MORE WIZARDS NEWS:
- Best in the East: Top 10 player rankings
- Handicapping the East: Where do Wiz stand?
- Free Agency: Tracking the news and rumors
WIZARDS TIPOFF PODCAST:
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