NBA Rumors: Latest Speculation Heading into the Draft
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It's NBA draft week, and with the July 1st free-agency window set to add even more excitement to a fast-moving offseason, it's a good time to sort out some of the league-wide rumors that have been circling.
Here's a look at some of the biggest storylines heading into the 2012 NBA Draft on Thursday, and how certain players and picks will affect the landscape of the entire league.
Bobcats Eyeing a Trade at No. 2?
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Michael Jordan might be the best player of all time in the NBA, but he hasn't had much success in the front office for his home-state Charlotte Bobcats.
Now, multiple reports have the Bobcats eyeing a trade of the No. 2 overall selection, since they don't feel the talent level of anyone at that spot is equal to picking up some additional selections after losing out on Anthony Davis in the draft lottery.
If Jordan does pull the trigger on a deal and doesn't receive a huge rake in of young talent and additional selections in future drafts, look for an uprising in Charlotte.
Bulls Looking to Add First-Rounder
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Chicago is easily one of the cream of the crop teams in the Eastern Conference, but they might be thinking more long-term as of late to compete with Miami and the rising Indiana Pacers.
Bleacher Report's own Brian Mazique breaks down the idea of Chicago moving into the first round per an earlier report, by packaging Luol Deng and some additional players for a shot at a first-round selection.
Do you like the idea of Chicago giving up a borderline All-Star in Deng to get younger? If they make this kind of trade, how long will it take before they are able to consistently put themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals?
Celtics Could Look Very Different Come July 1
Boston started the Big Three trend with Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett joining the team in 2007, but it is possible that we've seen the last of the gritty trio in the town of champions.
With Garnett seeking one more lucrative deal and Ray Allen only interested in championship-caliber teams that need a shooter to go over the top, Boston might be left with Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo and a bunch of draft picks after the draft and the early steps of free agency.
Being in flux could certainly affect the way Boston handles their two first-round selections, stacked at No. 21 and 22 in the late part of the first day.
Sullinger out of the Lottery?
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The power forward from THE Ohio State University has been a projected lottery pick since he entered the collegiate ranks as a freshman during the 2010-2011 season, but luck doesn't seem to be on his side as he enters the draft.
Sullinger wasn't invited to the NBA draft on-site, reason being people of authority feel he has a better shot of going in the late teens or 20's than he does in the early part of the lottery.
A back issue and a medical red flag at the combine have him on the outside looking in, as he's now unlikely to be taken in the lottery portion of the draft, but a team at the end of the first round would most certainly be getting a steal when his name is called on Thursday night.
Steve Nash Limiting His Availabilty?
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Nash certainly is looking for an opportunity to win that elusive championship at the end of his illustrious, two-time MVP, award-winning career. However, he's apparently not ready to do that at a reduced rate of salary.
According to this New York Post report, Nash would love the opportunity to play for a contender with a legitimate chance of challenging Miami and Oklahoma City. But he won't be doing so for the mid-level exception, as he still considers himself an elite point guard.
After the chips fall, it's possible Nash could wind up back in Phoenix, as they have the ability and desire to keep him around and happy, albeit without the talent that many other teams can offer.
Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets?
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Dwight Howard has long been a target of Rockets GM Daryl Morey, but they haven't had the trade assets that other teams have had to entice Orlando into a deal of parting ways with their franchise player.
However, Houston is looking to swap a player (either Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola or a combination of other guys) for a shot at the No. 5 and 8 selections. They would then, in turn, trade Scola or Lowry (whoever is left), additional talent and their two lottery picks to Orlando for Howard and fillers.
That would certainly make Houston a more interesting team in the Western Conference, because the only other center to go toe-to-toe with Howard four times a year is Andrew Bynum.
Look for Howard's name to be brought up a lot in the next few days, and don't be surprised if we've seen the last of him in Orlando. Then again, don't be surprised if he signs an extension before then, either.
Brandon Roy Is on His Way Back
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Brandon Roy is the three-time All-Star no one remembers, and he was forced to retire following Portland's first-round loss to the Dallas Mavericks two seasons ago.
But he's on his way back now, and rumors are swirling that the Minnesota Timberwolves are looking to add Roy to their already loaded backcourt with young gun Ricky Rubio.
No doubt this is just the first of several offers and interest Roy will receive from teams during the free-agent process, and it's interesting to see what kind of deal he garners as a high-risk, high-reward player.
Cavaliers Looking to Nab Beal in Top 3
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Cleveland is apparently worried that Beal will be gone by the time they select at No. 4, and are working with the Bobcats—who are shopping the No. 2 pick—so that they can move up and get him.
Beal, the sharpshooter from Florida who has drawn comparisons to Ray Allen, would make for an interesting backcourt duo with No. 1 overall selection Kyrie Irving and No. 4 pick Tristan Thompson from just one year ago.
Fab Melo a First-Round Risk?
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Fab Melo might be the next Tyson Chandler. He also might be the next Eddy Curry.
After two interesting seasons at Syracuse, Melo is poised to take the next step and see if he has what it takes to play basketball in the NBA. However, after not being eligible to participate in the NCAA tournament and a host of other academic problems on his resume, is Melo beginning to look like a risk?
This Associated Press story details some of Melo's problems at Syracuse, and is really a nice read on how the seven-footer has adapted both his game and his culture to a changing environment. Melo could go anywhere from the top 15 to the bottom of the first round, so we'll see what kind of impact his personal life and academic issues have on his draft stock.