Memphis center James Wiseman has worked out for Golden State and Charlotte, who pick second and third respectively in Wednesday’s draft.
But he said Monday on a Zoom call with reporters he hasn’t worked out or met with the Timberwolves, owners of the No. 1 pick. The 7-foot-1 Wiseman is often mentioned as a potential top pick in a group with LaMelo Ball and Georgia’s Anthony Edwards, but it’s looking less likely Wiseman will be the Wolves’ selection at the top, should they not trade the pick.
“In terms of talking [with the Wolves], I haven’t,” Wiseman said.
It should come as little surprise that there might not be much mutual interest between Wiseman and the Wolves, who already have an athletic big man in Karl-Anthony Towns. The modern NBA is going smaller and Wiseman, with his shot blocking and ability to run the floor, likely wants the chance to flourish as a team’s unquestioned center.
He did add that he would be happy with wherever he winds up.
“Whatever team that picks me, I’m truly grateful for that,” Wiseman said. “And whatever team that picks me, I’m going to go in there, learn as much as possible, work my tail off and just want to win.”
But if a team falls in love with Wiseman’s talent, like Charlotte reportedly has, the Wolves can use that as leverage in trade negotiations for the No. 1 pick.
As it related to trade talks, Wolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas said Monday in a Zoom call with reporters the “lines of communication are open” now that teams can officially begin executing trades.
“I think there’s good options. We’ve got to talk through them,” Rosas said. “At the end of the day, we’ll see what can be executed and what’s in our best interests. But it’s going to be an exciting night. It’s going to be a great night for our fans. Whether we’re picking or trading that pick, we really feel like we’re going to move the organization forward.”
Beasley still in the family
Shortly after restricted free agent Malik Beasley was arrested and charged with drug possession and threats of violence, Rosas came out with a strong statement of support pledging that Beasley was “family” to the organization and it would help him through his legal issues.
Rosas reiterated that stance Monday even after new details have emerged in Beasley’s case, including a request from Hennepin County officials to place Beasley’s one-year-old son under court ordered protection after Beasley was allegedly seen on surveillance camera pointing a rifle “in the general direction” of his son.
“We’re letting the legal course take its part there, but when we talk about family, it’s easy to do when it’s easy,” Rosas said. “It’s hard when it’s tough, but we want to be supportive, we want to understand what’s going on, and we want Malik to be not only the best player, but the best person he can be, and we’re all working through this together.”
Johnson expected to opt in
Players around the league are deciding this week whether to accept or decline player options for next season. On the Wolves, forward James Johnson has a player option worth approximately $16 million for this season. A source said the Wolves are expecting him to exercise that option but it wasn’t official as of Monday.