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Around the NBA: Norman Powell to become free agent, A-Rod joins T-Wolves ownership group

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NBA: Playoffs-Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Norman Powell declines player option, will become free agent

Norman Powell of the Portland Trail Blazers has declined his player option for the 2021-22 season, meaning he will become a free agent on August 1st, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

More from Haynes:

Portland Trail Blazers guard Norman Powell told Yahoo Sports he will decline his player option for the 2021-22 season and become an unrestricted free agent Aug. 1.

The player option is worth $11.6 million and he is expected to receive a considerable raise and a multiyear deal this summer.

The Trail Blazers acquired Powell from the Toronto Raptors at the NBA trade deadline this past March. The 2020-21 season was a career year for Powell as he transitioned from being a bench player, 6th-man type to a starting role. In the process, he averaged a career high in points per game at 18.6 and minutes per game at 32.0.

With six NBA seasons under his belt, Powell will hit free agency at 28 years old and likely in the midst of his prime. He will be one of the most sought-after free agents at the guard position.

A-Rod, Marc Lore approved as limited partners with Minnesota Timberwolves

When you see a headline with Alex Rodriguez’s name in it, you’re typically expecting MLB news. However, the former slugger is wading into NBA waters. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Rodriguez and Marc Lore have been approved as limited partners of the Minnesota Timberwolves by the NBA Board of Governors.

More from Woj:

The NBA Board of Governors approved Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez as limited partners with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx in a vote today, sources tell ESPN.

Lore and Rodriguez join Glen Taylor’s ownership group as part of an anticipated succession plan that includes a two and a half year pathway to control.

As I understand the situation from Woj’s reporting, Rodriguez and Lore (of Walmart fame and wealth) will phase into full ownership of the team over a two and a half year process.

It’s worth noting that the Timberwolves have been reported to have significant interest in acquiring Ben Simmons. While General Managers work the phones and do the legwork, owners usually have final say in trade approvals, especially for higher profile, higher paid players. The change in ownership structure may have an impact on whether the T-Wolves remain interested in Simmons.

NBA Draft Invitees

We are just over a week away from the 2021 NBA Draft, which will take place on July 29th. Like many other aspects of life, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into the usual way of doing things at the NBA Draft. But as many other aspects of life return to normal, so to does the NBA Draft, with the league having draftees in attendance for the biggest night of their lives on July 29th.

According to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, the following 20 players have received invites to sit in the green room at NBA the draft:

Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs, Jonathan Kuminga, Scottie Barnes, Davion Mitchell, James Bouknight, Keon Johnson, Franz Wagner, Josh Giddey, Jalen Johnson, Corey Kispert, Moses Moody, Kai Jones, Alperen Sengun, Cameron Thomas, Ziaire Williams, Chris Duarte and Isaiah Jackson.

What the NBA wants to avoid for these situations is having a player in the green room who could fall late into the draft. So as you peruse the list of players above, keep in mind that it’s reasonable to conclude many of these players will be gone by the time the Sixers make their pick at no. 28.

Roko Prkacin pulls out of 2021 NBA Draft

According to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, Roko Prkacin has withdrawn his name from the 2021 NBA Draft.

More from Givony:

Roko Prkacin, the No. 36 prospect in the ESPN 100, has withdrawn his name from the 2021 NBA draft, a source told ESPN. Somewhat surprising move, but at just 18-years old, Prkacin will have a chance to be a high draft pick in 2022 with a strong season.

Prkacin’s ranking on big boards has seen some variance. Sam Vecenie had Prkacin ranked 25th on his most recent edition, whereas Givony mentions Prkacin at 36th. It’s possible a team gambles on him in the mid-to-late first, but also possible he ends up being selected at a position where he’s not even a lock for a guaranteed contract. At just 18 years of age, I think this decision gives Prkacin a good chance of increasing his draft stock over the next year, maybe vault himself into the lottery. Now he can refine his game a bit more and get another season of professional ball under his belt in Europe before making the big leap to the NBA.