The NBA Draft takes place tonight, and rumors are swirling about the draft itself and the potential trades involving veterans today, so we here at SportSmasher.com are here to break them down for you. With a draft class that is weak at the top, but intriguing overall and a lot of teams trying to free up salary cap space to make room for free agents and avoid the luxury tax, I expect there to be a lot of action today. These are rumors and whispers that I have heard, again, just rumors.
NOTE: Follow us on twitter @Sportsmasher for the latest. Also look for my “2013 NBA Draft: Drunken Live Blog” later tonight. I get drunk and live blog the draft.
– All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge has informed the Portland Trail Blazers that he does not want to be part of their rebuilding effort any longer, and wants to be traded, with his specific destination of choice being the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls would love to have Aldridge, however the Trail Blazers are insisting that Bulls center Joakim Noah be included in any trade, and the Bulls will not trade Noah. The Bulls are offering forward Luol Deng (who is on the block) and the Blazers asked for Deng and Noah. If a team is willing to part with a combination of assets, including a star player, LaMarcus Aldridge is very available.
– The Dallas Mavericks are furiously trying to trade forward Shawn Marion, because if they can get his contract off of the books, they can offer Dwight Howard a max deal. Those close to Howard think that Dallas, not the Hawks or the Rockets or staying with the Lakers, is his preferred destination. It will be tough for the Mavericks to trade Marion, he has $9 million remaining on his contract. The Mavericks are trying to entice teams to take Marion by offering their thirteenth overall pick in a combo deal.
– A trade that was rumored earlier this week, in which the Bulls would send Luol Deng to the Washington Wizards for the third pick in the draft and Emeka Okafor, is dead. The Wizards will likely keep the third pick in the draft, where they will select either Otto Porter or Antony Bennett.
– The Cleveland Cavilers apparently offered the top overall pick in the draft, guard Dion Waiters and forward Tristan Thompson to the Minnesota Timberwolves for All-Star forward Kevin Love, and were quickly denied by Flip Saunders. Listen, I understand how good Kevin Love is, but if he truly wants out of Minnesota, that is a pretty good haul.
– Fluid situation going on between the Clippers and Magic regarding Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe. With Doc Rivers now coaching the Clippers, Chris Paul will stay in Los Angeles, and with Bledsoe entering the final year of his deal he will likely be traded. The rumored trade would include Bledsoe and Caron Butler headed to Orlando for Magic guard Aaron Afflalo, who played his college ball at UCLA and would love to join the Clippers. Talks ongoing, but if they break down, there is a lot of interest in Bledsoe throughout the NBA.
– Many teams in the mid-late portion of the first round have put their picks up for sale, but right now they are asking for a first round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft in return, and nobody has been willing to part with a pick in what will be a much stronger draft class next year.
– Among the teams who are trying to acquire another draft pick, either in the late first or early second round, New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics.
– I have heard that the Knicks love North Texas forward Tony Mitchell and if he is on the board at #24 he won’t be at #25. The Knicks also have interest in sweet shooting and athletic North Carolina wing Reggie Bullock, who I project to go to the Cavs with the #19 selection.
– I have heard that, if the Knicks can acquire an additional draft pick, their target is NC State point guard Lorenzo Brown.
– The Knicks could lose two of their own, they hoped to keep free agents J.R. Smith and Chris Copeland, but both are expected to receive offers in free agency that the Knicks will be unable to match. Smith is expected to get a large contract offer from the Milwaukee Bucks. Copeland has interest from 6-8 teams, including the Bucks, Raptors and Lakers.
– Teams who are trying to trade up in the lottery include Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz. The Timberwolves love guard Victor Oladipo. The Jazz are known to covet a point guard that can shoot and are targeting C.J. McCollum. The Thunder’s target is size, and they would love to trade up and secure Alex Len, but nobody in the top five is interested in their assets (Perry Jones, 2014 Dallas pick, their 2014 pick).
– The New Orleans Pelicans have made guard Eric Gordon “very available” but are not getting much value in return for a player that is very talented, but has missed much of the last two seasons with knee injuries, and has a large contract.
– Several teams are in on Miami point guard Shane Larkin, including the Celtics, Bucks and Nets, expect him to be selected in the early teens.
– Since most NBA teams agree that this is a weak draft, expect a run on international players who can be stashed overseas, probably beginning in the early teens. The first two off the board will likely be sharpshooter Sergey Karasev, big men Lucas Nogueira snd Rudy Gobert and point guard Dennis Schroeder. Karasev could be picked as early as ninth, maybe even earlier, lots of interest in him. I am hearing that Karasev and Schroeder plan on playing in the NBA next season. I cannot see how Schroeder slides past the Pacers at #21. The Jazz, with two first round picks, are known to covet Nogueira.
– An international player that generated a lot of buzz is “The Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo, except the 18-year-old point forward needs a ton of work before he is ready to see NBA minutes, and NBA scouts had planned on stashing him overseas. Apparently, this will not be the case “The Greek Freak” is informing teams that he plans on playing in the NBA next year. This has scared some teams away from one of the most raw-talented prospects in the draft class, he is nowhere near ready, so you will be paying him a lot of money in the D-League.
– Hearing the Thunder could be in on Giannis Antetokounmpo at 12 if they cannot trade up to secure a big man.
– Shabazz Muhammad is an interesting case. I first pegged him as a lottery pick, because in a weak draft class, he is clearly very talented. He was picked apart by scouts, and I heard earlier this week that teams thought he could slide into the 20’s, due to flaws in his game and character concerns. It now seems that Muhammad is rising up draft boards again, teams know he can score in the NBA and that he has plenty of talent, in a weak draft class he has a lot of value. I think he is a late-lottery pick.
– Hearing that the Charlotte Bobcats are content, they will keep their pick, and draft whichever shooting guard falls into their laps. Either Victor Oladipo or Ben McLemore. I think Anthony Bennett would be a perfect fit with the Bobcats, and think Oladipo is a little redundant with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on the floor. I think Oladipo is gone, and the Bobcats draft McLemore. Some late buzz that the Bobcats may take Cody Zeller with the fourth pick In the draft, which would be a horrible move, in typical Bobcats fashion.
– Some buzz that the Cavs could take Alex Len first overall over Nerlens Noel. I have been told that, if this happens, Orlando would jump on Noel with the second overall pick.
– Hearing that Cody Zeller could be drafted much earlier than expected. Interest starts with Charlotte at four, Phoenix at five. I am not a fan, he always seemed soft to me, but it seems like he will be gone before the 76ers and Blazers who have interest.
– The Nets have been very active. When Doc Rivers left Boston, they made it known that, if the Celtics were ready to move Kevin Garnett the Nets were very interested. The Nets are also attempting to acquire an additional first round pick and are using guard MarShon Brooks as trade bait.
– Just heard that Boston and Brooklyn are discussing a mega deal that would land both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce on the Nets. Neither player wants any part of Boston’s rebuilding effort. More to come.
– @WojYahooNBA: Possible Nets package includes expiring deal of Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Tomike Shenglia and three first-round picks, sources tell Y!
– @WojYahooNBA: There’s no indication that Garnett has yet to be consulted about waiving his no-trade clause for such a possible deal, sources tell Y!
– The Rockets are shopping Thomas Robinson, they need to move his contract to pursue free agents, and he could be had cheap.
– Talks are serious. Boston trying to include Courtney Lee or Jason Terry in the deal.
– The proposed deal, whatever the final form is, has reportedly been submitted to Kevin Garnett as he decides if he’ll waive his no trade clause.
– The Timberwolves and Bucks are discussing a trade that would send Luke Ridnour to Milwaukee for Ekpe Udoh.
– The Kings are trying to trade up from number seven, having discussions with the Suns, who have the fifth pick bathe Kings target is believed to be Ben McLemore. It seems they think they have to get ahead of the Pelicans to secure him.
This post will be updated frequently throughout the day as more rumors and information leaks out. Keep it here for updates.