The 2013 NBA draft is less than a month away, and with the marquee offseason event will come numerous trades and other transactions that will shape the league’s landscape for years to come.
While most teams aren’t going to pull the trigger on any possible deals until right before or the day of the draft itself, plenty of whispers and rumors will leak out well prior to that.
Let’s take a look at some of the best and most credible ones floating around the ‘net right now in Thursday’s trade rumor roundup.
Cavs Exploring Options with No. 1 Pick
After winning the draft lottery, the Cleveland Cavaliers are in prime position to select Nerlens Noel out of the University of Kentucky. However, there’s a distinct possibility that the up-and-coming club will decide to trade the pick for a more established asset.
According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, sources are indicating that general manager Chris Grant has begun some initial reconnaissance on what he could net in return for the No. 1 pick.
What should the Cavs do with the top pick?
With such weak prospects at the top of this draft, there doesn’t seem to be much out there at the moment.
One hypothetical offered by Ford is DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings in exchange for the selection, but that would hinge on the team’s new ownership deciding to part ways with the most talented player on the roster—which is something that isn’t likely to happen.
Expect more information and possible scenarios to arise in the coming weeks, but Cleveland isn’t likely to receive an offer sweet enough to trade out of this spot.
Magic May Alter Decision at No. 2 Via Trade
The Orlando Magic had the worst record and best chance to land the top spot in the draft lottery but got saddled with the No. 2 selection after the pingpong balls fell.
The clear choice here—based on need, current roster composition and projected available prospects—would be point guard Trey Burke out of Michigan.
While Burke is obviously on the Magic’s radar as a potential replacement for Jameer Nelson, the team is also keenly interested in both Kansas’ Ben McLemore and Indiana’s Victor Oladipo—according to Ford.
They are two of the more highly rated prospects in this class but man the same position as Arron Afflalo—one of the key returns for the franchise in the Dwight Howard deal last summer.
Ford notes that this is because the Magic covet Los Angeles Clippers backup guard Eric Bledsoe and would be willing to flip Afflalo for him and Caron Butler’s expiring contract.
If that deal gets done, expect the Magic to pounce on Oladipo or McLemore at No. 2.
Mavs Looking to Dump Lottery Pick for Cap Space
Two years after winning a championship, the Dallas Mavericks are hoping that a big free-agent signing can save them from making another lottery appearance next season.
While the ideal scenario involves the team trading away the No. 13 pick this year and getting the cap space required to sign Dwight Howard (or Chris Paul, the other marquee free agent) to a max deal—as Ford reported over two weeks ago—that just may not happen.
Hearing from multiple sources that Mavs likely to trade the No. 13 pick. Want to save cap space for Dwight Howard run ...— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 22, 2013
The competition is fierce, and a number of teams are in better positions to offer D12 more financially (his current team, the Los Angeles Lakers) or talent-wise (the Houston Rockets).
If he decides to spurn owner Mark Cuban’s offer, the Mavs may have to resort to some desperate measures. Ford found that Dallas is one of the clubs intrigued by DeMarcus Cousins and would call the Kings if he were available.
He’s not the ideal player to rebuild around but could be the best option this summer.