Raptors forward becomes highest-paid player in team history with new deal, per report

Toronto Raptors All-Star forward Scottie Barnes intends to sign a rookie max extension worth up to $270 million over five years, per Adrian Wojnarowski. Barnes was eligible for the rookie max after completing his third year in the NBA, where he became a first-time All-Star after averaging career-highs of 19.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists.

The deal makes Barnes the highest paid player in Raptors franchise history. After entering the league in 2021, Barnes made an immediate impact on the Raptors, earning Rookie of the Year, and First Team All-Rookie honors with averages of 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He’s asserted himself as a versatile two-way player who can guard multiple positions on defense, while developing as a playmaker and scorer on offense.

Barnes’ 3-point shooting specifically took a major leap in this third year, as he shot 34.1% from deep on nearly five attempts per game. That’s a significant improvement from the 30.1% he shot in his rookie season, and the 28.1% he shot in Year 2. If he can get that number up a few percentage points higher, it’ll force opposing teams to play him tougher on the perimeter, which will open up the paint for him, where he excels the most.

While Barnes can’t officially sign the contract until July 6, which is when deals can become official in the NBA, agreeing to an extension ensures the Raptors can focus on other things this offseason as they try to take steps to rebuild into a contender. The Raptors finished 11 games outside of the last play-in spot in the Eastern Conference this season, but have a solid core of young players around Barnes, including RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley who can all continue to develop together.

It was a season of change for a Toronto team that traded both Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby ahead of the trade deadline, in order to pivot in building around Barnes. And by signing him to the richest deal in Raptors history, it shows that the team sees Barnes as their future.

“I think the most difficult thing to do when you do things like this is finding the Scottie Barneses of the world, and we’re lucky to have a really good young player like this to build around,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in April.

France’s Zaccharie Risacher makes move to top, selected by Hawks at No. 1 over Alex Sarr

For much of the past year, Alex Sarr has been considered the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft — but not anymore. At this moment, it’s instead Zaccharie Risacher, a 6-foot-9 wing from France who is -240 in the betting markets to be the first player selected Wednesday.

How did this happen?

It’s partly the byproduct of there never being a clear-cut No. 1 option in this draft like Victor Wembanyama was last year or, say, Anthony Davis was in 2012. But it also likely has something to do with Sarr so far being unwilling to travel to Atlanta and work out for the Hawks. Reportedly, the 19 year-old center is comfortable falling to No. 2 and being selected by Washington, where the Wizards have a younger roster that could theoretically allow Sarr to have a bigger role immediately. Whether that’s a wise or unwise approach is debatable. Either way, it appears to be the decision Sarr and his representatives have made, leading most to believe Atlanta will look elsewhere with the first selection.

The Hawks could also trade the first pick.

That option remains.

And I also wouldn’t completely rule out the idea of them using the pick on Donovan Clingan or Reed Sheppard. Basically anything and everything is still on the table. But just two days before the first night of the 2024 NBA Draft, most signs are indicating that Risacher is probably headed to Atlanta, where the next decision might revolve around what to do with Trae Young and Dejounte Murray.

How unique journey of Alex Sarr — the 7-foot ‘Mr. International’ — could lead to No. 1 pick

It’s only fitting that Alex Sarr was first approached by a basketball coach as a young child walking the aisles of a supermarket. After all, his diverse on-court talents read like a shopping list for the ideal modern NBA player: A few ounces of Rudy Gobert, a quart of Giannis Antetokounmpo … the tiniest dash of Kevin Durant. Yep, there’s a reason Sarr is firmly in the mix to be selected first overall in Wednesday’s 2024 NBA Draft.

The man who had the foresight to jumpstart Sarr’s basketball career was Vincent Mbassi, a Cameroonian who settled in the Bordeaux region of France — best known for its breathtaking wines. Like grapes on the vine, Mbassi knew that Sarr, then just a young boy perusing the grocery store’s offerings with his older brother and their father, would need cultivation and nurturing at his Kameet Basketball Academy, which had already seen the likes of Boris Diaw and Evan Fournier walk through its doors.

Aymeric Parker, a French photojournalist who grew up playing with Diaw and is extremely close with the Sarr family, called Mbassi “the wizard of basketball” in Bordeaux, and couldn’t give him enough credit for establishing training methods that prepared local athletes for the world’s highest levels.

“[Mbassi said] I’m going to push them to the limits, just like the way the Americans do to their athletes in D-I or high school basketball, elite basketball,” Parker told CBS Sports. “But it was new at that time. It was new.”

You don’t have to look far to see a recent success story. Olivier Sarr, Alex’s older brother, went from Bordeaux to Wake Forest to Kentucky to the NBA — where he played 46 games over three seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder before rupturing his Achilles tendon in Game 3 of the G League Finals in April.

No matter where Alex, a 7-foot unicorn who just turned 19 a couple months ago, is drafted on Wednesday, he will undoubtedly become the next — if not the best — basketball player to come from the region. The only question is just how high his ceiling will be, but Sarr and his father, Massar, have carefully charted a basketball course to optimize his preparation for the NBA.

After starting in Mbassi’s academy, Sarr moved to Spain to join Real Madrid at the age of 14. When the COVID pandemic hit in 2020, he moved across to the globe to become a part of the Overtime Elite Academy in Atlanta — interestingly enough, the same city whose team holds the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. After two seasons there, the journey continued to Australia, where Sarr averaged 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocks per 36 minutes for the Perth Wildcats of the NBL. The constant league-hopping strayed from the traditional path of a French athlete, which usually involves going through INSEP, the country’s most famous basketball academy, before playing in domestic pro leagues.

“I think Alex had first a French perspective on basketball, then the European perspective, then an American perspective through Overtime … and then an Australian,” Parker told CBS Sports. “So he is like Mr. International to me.”

It’s hard to imagine any high-level prospect accumulating that level of diverse international experience by the age of 19, and when you combine that with Sarr’s raw talent and abilities that jump off the screen, you could be looking at the best player in the 2024 class.

At the very least, Sarr should easily slide into a shot-blocking, rim-running role similar to what we saw from Dallas Mavericks rookie Derek Lively II this past season. Sarr’s rim protection skills are elite, with timing, verticality and instincts to be one of the league’s most imposing defenders early in his career.

His defensive ceiling is raised, however, when you look at how well he moves his feet for his size. While he’ll likely be most effective in drop coverage to start, his ability to stick with guards in pick-and-roll situations has been impressive. Sarr allowed just 0.52 points per possession when defending isolation plays, per Synergy Sports, which was in the 88th percentile in the NBL.

Sarr’s immediate defensive impact will be paired with seemingly unlimited potential on the offensive side. His elite athleticism allows him to catch lobs and finish with power above the rim, but the more intriguing aspects of his game come with his shot creation and ball-handling. Far from a finished product in the area, Sarr has displayed enough on the perimeter to make you think it could become a game-changing part of his arsenal down the road.

Uh huh. There’s that dash of Kevin Durant.

Even if Sarr’s 3-point shot never fully develops — he shot 30% on two attempts per game in his season with Perth — his other talents can still put him at the All-Star level. But, if he starts knocking them down consistently, then we’re talking about a truly special two-way player in his prime. There will likely be a few mechanical tweaks from his development coaches, but the confidence and footwork seem to be there on Sarr’s jumper.

In addition to the skill set, Sarr has gained maturity through his basketball journey, learning at an early age how to carry himself like a professional. He also has a fiery inner competitiveness — fostered by an unrelenting itch to be better than his older brother — and a high basketball IQ developed by playing multiple styles and against different levels of physicality already in his young career. That means no matter what NBA system he’s thrown into, he should have a good chance at thriving.

“He’s gonna adapt,” Parker told CBS Sports. “Because he adapted from Real Madrid to Overtime to Australia. This kid is a chameleon. The smarter the player, the better your chances are it’s gonna be a good fit no matter what.”

This isn’t your typical NBA Draft prospect with one or two years of amateur experience. He and his family have executed their globetrotting game plan perfectly, and it’s about to pay off with a multi-million dollar contract followed by what they all hope is a long and illustrious NBA career.

“The skills, he has them. Size, he has it. Shooting abilities, he has them. Athletic abilities, he has them. Mindset, he has it. Competitiveness, he has it,” Parker told CBS Sports. “He has everything.”

Cody Williams, Jalen Williams set to join elite group of brothers selected in first round

Colorado forward Cody Williams could make history on Wednesday during the 2024 NBA Draft if he’s selected in the first 30 picks. Williams could join his brother, Jalen Williams — the No. 12 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft — as the next set of siblings who were both drafted in the first round.

The younger Williams ranks No. 11 on CBS Sports NBA Draft Prospect Rankings.

Last year, Amen and Ausar Thompson made history by both getting selected during the first five picks of the first round, which made them the first brothers to be selected in top 10 during the same draft. Amen Thompson went No. 4 to the Houston Rockets and Ausar wasn’t far behind, going with the next pick to the Detroit Pistons at No. 5.

In the same draft, Iowa’s Kris Murray joined his brother Keegan Murray — the No. 4 overall pick by the Sacramento Kings in the 2022 NBA Draft — as sibilings drafted in the first round. Lonzo and LaMelo Ball remain the only two brothers to be top-three selections in NBA Draft history. Lonzo was the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers and LaMelo was selected third by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Here’s a closer look at notable siblings drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft over the years.

Amen and Ausar Thompson (2023)
The Thompson brothers were considered two of the best prospects in the class since 2022. They both played for Overtime Elite and would are the highest players drafted from that program. They made history together by being the first twins selected in the top 10 in NBA Draft history.

Keegan and Kris Murray (2022, 2023)
Neither of the Murray brothers were considered high-level draft prospects when arrived at Iowa prior to the 2020-21 season. First, it was Keegan who raised his stock drastically following a standout 2021-22 season, which helped him skyrocket up draft boards and ultimately land with the Kings with the No. 4 pick. Keegan was one of the oldest players drafted in the first round last season, and his twin brother was selected by the Trail Blazers at No. 23.

Lonzo and LaMelo Ball (2017, 2020)
Lavar Ball’s dream of seeing all three of his sons drafted into the NBA didn’t come true, but two out of three isn’t bad. Lonzo was considered one of the top point guards in the 2017 NBA Draft and ultimately landed with the Los Angeles Lakers with the No. 2 pick. After a few seasons playing for his hometown team, he was shipped to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis trade. Lonzo’s playing career is in serious jeopardy following a knee injury from which he’s never fully recovered. On the flip side, LaMelo looks like one of the young rising stars in the NBA and landed with the Hornets with the third overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The Warriors had a chance to select Ball, but elected to draft Memphis big man James Wiseman. Who knows what LaMelo’s career trajectory would’ve looked like had he been drafted by the Warriors.

Marcus and Markieff Morris (2011)
After staring together at Kansas, the Morris brothers entered the 2011 NBA Draft and became back-to-back selections at the end of the lottery. Markieff was drafted first by the Phoenix Suns with the 13th pick; minutes later, Marcus was selected by the Houston Rockets with the last pick of the lottery. Both Morris brothers played four years at Kansas and are still in the league to this day. Markieff plays for the Dallas Mavericks and Marcus was recently traded from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Washington Wizards.

Brook and Robin Lopez (2008)
Both played two seasons at Stanford before declaring for the 2008 NBA Draft. Brook was a lottery pick at 10th overall by the New Jersey Nets, but Robin just missed the cut when he was selected with the No. 15 pick by the Phoenix Suns. After years of playing in the NBA, Brook transformed his game and became one of the best defensive centers in the league. He finished near of the top of Defensive Player of the Year ballots and transformed into a lethal 3-point shooter. Robin spent last season playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Bernard and Albert King (1977, 1981)
Bernard was drafted seventh overall in the 1977 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets out of Tennessee. A few years later, his brother was drafted 10th overall by the Nets in the 1981 NBA Draft from Maryland. Bernard went on to have a successful Hall of Fame career as a four-time NBA All-Star and was twice named to the All-NBA First Team. Albert played for four different teams over nine years during his career.

Gene and Purvis Short (1975, 1978)
Coming out of Jackson State, Gene Short was selected ninth overall by the New York Knicks in the 1975 NBA Draft. His younger brother, Purvis, also attended Jackson State and was drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the No. 5 pick in the 1978 NBA Draft. Purvis averaged 17.3 points per game in his 12-year NBA career. Gene, on the other hand, only played 34 total games in his NBA career with the Knicks and the Seattle Supersonics.

Russ and Ron Lee (1972, 1976)
The first set of siblings to be selected in the top 10 of the NBA Draft. Russ was drafted sixth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1972 NBA Draft out of Marshall. His NBA career only lasted three seasons, and he retired following the 1974-75 season. Ron had a successful college career at Oregon and left as the program’s all-time leading scorer. The Suns selected him 10th overall in the 1976 NBA Draft, and he went on to play from 1976-82 before playing in Italy for three years to end his professional career.

Lakers among potential landing spots as Hawks reevaluate backcourt pairing

When the Hawks landed Dejounte Murray two years ago, he was supposed to be their missing piece. A defensive guard who could lock down opposing ball-handlers and minimize Trae Young’s weaknesses on one end of the floor and a secondary ball-handler who would force Young to participate more in the offense as an off-ball mover on the other was exactly what we all thought the Hawks needed.

It hasn’t worked out that way. The Hawks haven’t won a playoff series with Murray. He and Young couldn’t even beat a Jimmy Butler-less Heat team in the Play-In round last season. The fit between the two clearly hasn’t worked. If the Hawks could have gotten a fair return, they might have traded him at the deadline.

Instead, they’re re-evaluating their options now. So what is the latest on the Murray trade front? Where might he go? And what are the odds that the Hawks ultimately keep him?

Why he’s in trade rumors
The Hawks acquired Murray thinking he would take them to the next level. They are 72-80 in games he has played for them. The minutes he shared with Trae Young saw the Hawks outscored by 169 points last season, the worst plus-minus of any two-man combination in Atlanta. Murray has averaged over 25 points per game and nearly nine assists in games that Young has missed since then, but only 20.4 points and 5.5 assists with him. This duo does not work. They hold each other back.

There are some irreparable offensive issues at play here, but it hasn’t helped that the Hawks acquired Murray thinking he was a star defender when he hasn’t been. Atlanta’s defense was seven points per 100 possessions better when Murray was on the bench this season. Murray was an All-Defense pick during the 2017-18 season. At that point, he had an estimated plus-minus of +1.8 on defense. This season, he was down to -1.3. He’s declined precipitously, and even if that’s a combination of effort and fit, it’s not what the Hawks thought they were getting.

Young has proven he can be the offensive catalyst for a contender. Even if it was a one-time occurrence, he did get the Hawks to the Eastern Conference finals. He also has seniority in Atlanta as a player the Hawks drafted. Trading Young would be a far more complicated process than giving up Murray. They’re going to be broken up, and in those situations, the player widely believed to be the worse of the two usually winds up getting moved.

Why the Hawks would keep him
Well, for starters, their coach wanted them to. At least at the deadline, Quin Snyder reportedly urged the front office to keep Murray, according to Marc Stein. He had reason to. The Hawks went 17-18 with Murray and no Young over the past two seasons compared to 60-69 when they played together. Murray is bigger. He is more versatile. While he may not be the better player of the two, he is the easier one to build a team around.

He is also far cheaper, and that means a good deal in the second-apron world we now live in. Murray is set to make only $114 million over the next four seasons, assuming he picks up his 2027-28 player option. That’s a bargain. Remember, Jerami Grant will earn more than him in that span without ever having made an All-Star team. Young, on the other hand, will make $89 million over the next two seasons, and if he re-signs, his next contract is going to be significantly bigger. Would you rather have, say, the 25th-best player in the NBA for max money, or the 40th-best player for half of that?

The Hawks were already facing a bit of a tax crunch for next season, and the No. 1 pick only makes their roster more expensive. They are going to have to shell out for Jalen Johnson in a rookie extension this offseason. Onyeka Okongwu and De’Andre Hunter already got theirs. If the Hawks like the bulk of their team and are only looking to make one major change, a Young deal takes them further than a Murray trade would.

What destinations make sense?
Murray can work on several teams, but he’s not as easy a fit as, say, Mikal Bridges would be. He needs to play point guard. He needs to be surrounded by shooting, because while he has improved, he still isn’t great from 3-point range. He would also probably be best-served playing on a strong defensive team. If he can revert to his younger form on that end, great, but it isn’t something a new team can rely on. Here are three teams that make some sense.

New Orleans Pelicans: The Pelicans need a point guard and were interested in Murray in February. In Brandon Ingram, they could send the Hawks back a high-end wing that would help balance their roster out a little bit, and such a deal would help the Pelicans with their impending tax problems (though create new ones for the Hawks if Ingram extends). This is one of the easier player-for-player trade ideas of the offseason. It fills a need for both teams with players of similar stature and age. Both teams have surpluses at the positions they’d be trading from, so something with this base would work for both sides provided the Hawks plan to remain in win-now mode.

Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers looked into a Murray trade at the deadline, but had only one first-round pick to offer. Now they have three, potentially opening the door for a swap. Murray is represented by Klutch Sports, which connects him to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. James would need to give up some ball-handling responsibility to make life easier on Murray, but it would be easier for Los Angeles to match his salary than some of the max-level guards they’ve also been linked to. Murray would have to improve defensively back to where he was as a Spur for this deal to be worthwhile for the Lakers. Otherwise, it’s only a slight upgrade on D’Angelo Russell. But if he could, it would have real upside for the Lakers.

Brooklyn Nets: The Nets want a superstar to pair with Bridges. Their presumed first choice, Donovan Mitchell, doesn’t seem as available as previously believed. Murray is a middle-ground option. He’s not a star, but he won’t cost star prices either. The Nets could grab him while retaining the bulk of their trade assets in an effort to improve this season while courting a true superstar in the 2025 offseason. Brooklyn badly needs guard help, so if they’re desperate to improve now, Murray makes some sense as a short-term upgrade.

What is the latest reporting?
Most of the reporting on the Atlanta trade market has focused on Young, but there have been a few worthwhile nuggets on Murray. The Jazz, for instance, reportedly turned down an offer of Murray for young guard Keyonte George. The Pelicans reportedly consider Murray more valuable than Young, which is a sentiment that has floated around several teams this offseason. Whether that means Murray’s value has grown or Young’s value has shrunk is uncertain, but it seems as though he’ll have a reasonable market this offseason.

Reed Sheppard, Stephon Castle lead best five players at each position

The 2024 NBA Draft is just a few days away and while there may be more questions than answers to this point to some of the biggest storylines, CBS Sports has you covered from all angles ahead of the big night.

CBS Sports and 247Sports experts each submitted their prospect rankings last week to develop the top players of the consensus Top 75 Big Board. French big man Alex Sarr was voted the top center and the No. 1 overall player in this draft class.

French forward Zaccharie Risacher was voted as the top small forward in this class and checked in at No. 2 on our consensus Big Board. Sarr and Risacher were followed by Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard, UConn’s Donovan Clingan and UConn’s Stephon Castle to round out the top of the list.

Here are the top five prospects at each position heading into the 2024 NBA Draft.

Kentucky’s 1-2 freshman punch ranks first and second on our top PG list. On my personal big board, I ranked Dillingham as the No. 1 overall player in the class ahead of Sarr. Topic finished as the third-ranked point guard and the No. 8 overall player on our big board despite concerns that he could miss part of the 2024-25 NBA season due to an ACL injury suffered this season. Collier, the former No. 2 overall player in the 2023 recruiting rankings by 247Sports, is fourth. Carrington has been skyrocketing up draft boards the last month and could find himself as a potential lottery selection when it’s all said and done.

Just missed the cut: Houston’s Jamal Shead, UCSB’s Ajay Mitchell and Marquette’s Tyler Kolek.

Castle has expressed a strong desire to play point guard at the next level. For now, he’s the top-ranked shooting guard in this class if you’re going off what he was listed at the NBA Draft Combine as Carter and McCain both should go in the lottery on draft night, while the former is receiving buzz as a potential top-10 pick. Walter is another name who could go higher than his final consensus ranking of 18 because of his potential as a 3-and-D player in the NBA. Alexander projects as a second-round pick, but comes in as the fifth-best SG in the class.

The new projected No. 1 overall pick heading into draft week is Risacher. With the Hawks (reportedly) not conducting a workout with Sarr to this date, it appears to be a two-horse race between Risacher and Clingan to go No. 1 if the Hawks keep their selection. The small forward class is loaded with high-floor stars such as Knecht and upside swings like Holland, Buzelis and Williams. All three of those names have been projected as a top-five pick at some point during this draft cycle. Heading into draft night, their draft range appears to be a mystery with some mock drafts projecting Holland to fall out of the lottery entirely. If it happens, it would be a mistake. Whoever drafts the G-League Ignite star will get a steal.

Just missed the cut: Creighton’s Baylor Scheierman, Miami’s Kyshawn George and Weber State’s Dillon Jones

Looking at the final rankings of the power forwards in this class, there’s a strong possibility that Salaün will jump into the top 10 overall. He’s been a steady riser throughout the draft process. Dunn might be the best on-ball defender in the entire class, but his draft range appears to be at the end of the first round. Da Silva is one of the most experienced players in this class. Da Silva’s been mocked as high as No. 13 to the Kings in our latest projections.

Just missed the cut: San Francisco’s Jonathan Mogbo and Sweden’s Bobi Klintman

It’s no surprise that Sarr, who ranked as the No. 1 overall player throughout most of the draft cycle, finished as the top-ranked center in his class. With that said, there’s still a chance that Clingan — the two-time national championship-winning center from UConn — jumps him. If the Hawks want to delay an inevitable rebuild, Clingan could be the right guy at No. 1. Missi, Holmes and Edey project as mid-late first-rounders, according to our latest mock drafts.