Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca: Masai Ujiri’s worlds always seem to be colliding—the risk of living life with an open heart. On the morning of game seven against the Nets the issue foremost on his mind was the kidnapping of 200 Nigerian school girls by a religious fundamentalist group. This month he’s following his native Nigeria’s World Cup progress, but he’s also sorting through the heartbreak when he learns about gunmen killing more than a dozen people at a viewing party back home. It’s easy for him to stay motivated, his drive to lift the Raptors twinned with his passion to make things better at home. “The Raptors are my number-one responsibility,” he says. “But Africa is who I am, this is part of me. I want to make a difference.” A year into his tenure in Toronto, he’s got both bases covered.
Greg Cote of The Miami Herald: Reality, though, is that Miami lost the last three games to San Antonio by a combined 57 points and in doing so looked “inept” (Riley’s word), and, “like a team that wasn’t very good.” Reality too is that, in the Finals, after LeBron and Bosh, the Heat starters were a guy who looked old and tired (Wade), a point guard of plummeting stock (Chalmers) and a fifth starter better suited to a reserve role (Rashard Lewis). The best reserve, Ray Allen, turns 39 in July. The bench was thin. In other words, even if the Big 3 all return – a likelihood – the Heat will still need a healthier, reinvigorated Wade, smart additions elsewhere and a recommitment to defense to call themselves better. But that’s getting too far ahead. For now, for Miami, it all starts, all over again, where it started four years ago: With Pat Riley in charge. In charge of the blueprint and of keeping LeBron James at the hub of it. In charge of closing the deal.
Tom Moore of The Intelligencer: Embiid, who won’t attend the draft, was a strong contender to go No. 1 to Cleveland. The injury could result in Wiggins and Duke forward Jabari Parker ending up 1-2 to the Cavaliers and Bucks, forcing the Sixers to choose from Embiid, Australian point guard Dante Exum or perhaps Indiana power forward Noah Vonleh, who reportedly worked out in Philly on Thursday. If Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie is determined to land Wiggins, who spent one year at Kansas, Embiid’s injury could necessitate trading up via combining picks Nos. 3 and 10 — which he supposedly doesn’t want to do — or packaging No. 3 with a player. Thaddeus Young probably wouldn’t be enough for the Cavs or Bucks and NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams would be too much. It could take No. 3 and Nerlens Noel to get it done. Hinkie could consider moving down, especially if he targets Vonleh. In addition, he could try to move up from No. 10 if there’s somebody he’s intrigued by at No. 7 or 8 by sending No. 10 and No. 32, which is the first of the Sixers’ five second-rounders. There are reports Hinkie might try to add a third top-10 pick, though it’s unclear how.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com: The stress fracture in Joel Embiid's right foot will certainly scare some teams away from selecting him near the top of the draft. But the Boston Celtics aren't one of them. In fact, a source tells CSNNE.com that the Celtics will give some serious thought to potentially moving up in the draft to select him. Boston has kept "all options" open leading up to the draft, including the possibility of moving up from their current No. 6 spot. However, Embiid's injury gives them added incentive because this injury - which comes on the heels of a fractured back injury that shortened his lone season at Kansas - opens the door for them to acquire the player with the most upside in this year's draft.
Jody Genessy of the Deseret News: Anyway, suppose the Jazz did move up from their No. 5 spot. And suppose Duke’s Jabari Parker was available. And suppose he’s a bona fide, scripture-toting member of the LDS Church — which he is. Do they select him? Of course they do. That’s like asking if you’ll be taking your tax refund. It’s money in the bank. But not because he’s LDS. Take him because he’s an inside-outside scoring threat. And because he’s the most complete player in the draft. Choose him because one scout told The Boston Globe that Parker was a Grant Hill/Carmelo Anthony hybrid. But for heaven’s (and hades’) sake, don’t take him because they think he’ll be a Mormon marketing bonanza. News flash: Latter-day Saints have been watching basketball since they were infants. They know the game. They might first attend a Jazz game because of the hype surrounding Parker, and even cheer because he’s a likable kid from a fine family. But they’ll boo him back to Chicago if he doesn’t pan out.
Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: Flip Saunders appears to be targeting shooting -- I hear McDermott, Stauskas and Adrien Payne all are high on his list -- but reiterated that he feels the team needs to add two-way players -- i.e. guys who can play defense, too -- most to this roster. "You still need to add shooting, you can never have too much shooting," he said. "I mean, you can look at it different ways. We had trouble shooting last year but we scored a lot of points. We may have had trouble shooting, but we rebounded the hell out of it and we got to the free-throw line. You want to find that balance. I don't think you totally want to substitute shooting where we have one-way type players, though."
Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times: I’ve been told Mitch McGary, a 6-foot-10, 266-pound center from the University of Michigan, is scheduled to work out for the Bucks at their training facility in St. Francis. It will mark the first time McGary will work out for an NBA team as he has been recovering from a back injury. McGary is unquestionably one of the best big men in the draft, possessing a solid all-around game. He is generally considered to be a late first-round selection. McGary caught the attention of pro scouts with a stellar 2013 NCAA Tournament. His performance prompted some NBA officials to project McGary as a potential lottery pick — a top 14 selection.
Marc Berman of the New York Post: The Knicks have convinced at least one faction they are extremely serious about trading for or buying a late first-round pick with the NBA Draft less than a week away. When shooting guard P.J. Hairston agreed to work out for Knicks president Phil Jackson on June 5, it was the strongest indication they are setting their sights on more than just buying a second-rounder next Thursday night. Hairston, the controversial former North Carolina standout who was expelled from school last December, is slated to go between the 20th and 30th picks. He has worked out for about a dozen teams, mostly clubs in the lottery. “The interest level is very, very high," Hairston’s agent, Juan Morrow, told The Post. “You never know what Phil Jackson has up his sleeve."
Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee: DeMarcus Cousins has been busy this offseason, but not too busy to make a phone call to a teammate with a message – stay in Sacramento. The Kings center has contacted Rudy Gay to let him know he does not want the forward to play for another team next season. Gay has until June 30 to opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent. “We’ve talked, and he knows that I want him back,” said Cousins, who discussed Gay and a variety of offseason topics Thursday while taking a break at the DeMarcus Cousins Elite Skills Basketball Camp at Sacramento High School. “I need him on this ride. At the end of the day, it’s a decision he has to make for him and his family. We can only hope for the best. If he goes another way, I’ll wish him the best, but hopefully he’ll be in a Sacramento Kings uniform.” The Kings made their pitch to keep Gay earlier this month.
Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press: Stan Van Gundy reiterated that he’s in contact with restricted free agent forward Greg Monroe via text messages and added: “I’m in almost daily contact with David Falk.” Falk is Monroe’s agent. There is growing speculation that Monroe could leave the Pistons after four promising seasons. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported over the weekend that the Pelicans made an initial inquiry into a possible sign-and-trade deal with the Pistons. Ramona Shelburne said Wednesday on ESPN that she expects the Los Angeles Lakers to make a play for Monroe. Of course, the Pistons can match any offer he gets. As for the rest of free agency, Van Gundy said today: “We have targets.”
Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman: A possible explanation emerged Thursday for why Nick Collison labored through what could be considered the worst season of his career. The Thunder announced that Collison underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Thursday morning. He is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks before returning to normal offseason activities, the team said. Collison, who will turn 34 before the start of next season, averaged 4.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 0.3 blocked shots in 16.7 minutes, all career lows. Though he appeared in 81 games for the second straight season, Collison’s minutes per game dipped for the third straight year and plummeted to just 10.8 during the postseason. It’s unclear what the exact issue is in Collison’s knee that mandated the scope, when it occurred or how long he’s battled the injury.