The 2013 NBA draft is just over three weeks away, which has the world clamoring in anticipation for the day in which 60 prospects will become rookies. In that same breath, there are countless established NBA players that could be traded.
So what is the latest buzz surrounding the NBA's stars and top prospects as we approach the NBA draft?
Certain stars could be on the move, including a former first overall draft choice and multiple top 10 selections. Other prospects are less established, but have begun to rise up draft boards due to a specific skill that has taken the NBA by storm.
So what's the latest buzz and how is the draft shaping up?
Cleveland Trading No. 1 Pick?
According to Bob Finnan of The News-Herald, the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in trading the first overall draft choice. Without a transcending talent available at No. 1, the Cavs have thus found themselves in an undesirable position, as they look to maximize their value by any means necessary.
Contrary to previous reports, Finnan reports that Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is not the target of their desires.
Unfortunately for many fans, Kings center DeMarcus Cousins might not be the object of their desire.
They have the ammunition to acquire a player like the 6-foot-11, 270-pound Cousins. The Cavs have the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft to dangle in front of teams. However, one source said, they might be finding out there isn't as much value in that pick as they had hoped.
That's what it all comes down to.
Per Joe Kotoch of Sheridan Hoops, another one of Cleveland's targets appears to be Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Just as trading for Cousins appears to be unrealistic, however, the same can be said about Love.
It just isn't a realistic dream.
Source also repeated what different source said earlier in week: Wolves going out of way to make it clear Kevin Love is not available.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) June 1, 2013
It's not hard to see why.
Love is one of the most individually productive players in the NBA, and in this draft, he would be the consensus selection for the No. 1 draft choice. That isn't just a statement about Love's greatness, but also an acknowledgement of the weakness of this draft class.
Without a surefire superstar in this draft, Minnesota appears to feel no need to trade an established star in exchange for one with more upside than legitimacy.
Toronto Raptors Shopping Andrea Bargnani
The Toronto Raptors made waves earlier this week, hiring Masai Ujiri to become their new general manager (via USA Today Sports). Ujiri spent the 2012-13 season with the Denver Nuggets and was named the NBA Executive of the Year for his work.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, Ujiri's first order of business will be trading Andrea Bargnani.
First order of biz for new Raps GM Masai Ujiri: Word is he'll shop Andrea Bargnani everywhere he can in hopes of moving him before July 1— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 1, 2013
A difficult task, but one that the Raptors appear intent on executing.
Bargnani was the first overall draft choice in the 2006 NBA draft, which makes this time of year a difficult one for the Raptors to remember. After years of lackluster production, Toronto appears to be fed up with his lack of elite play and massive contract.
One way or another, the Raptors are focused on sending Bargnani out—something tells us Ujiri will be able to get it done.
Rise of the Stretch 4
The move to small-ball is overstated and quite frankly, false, but the evolution at the power forward position is true and understated. Once the masters of the low-post, power forwards are now either supremely athletic—see Griffin, Blake—or elite jump shooters—see Anderson, Ryan.
In the 2013 NBA draft, the latter player, the stretch 4, is on the rise.
According to Chad Ford of ESPN Insider, Indiana Hoosiers big man Cody Zeller is working to become an NBA power forward. Scouts have begun comparing Zeller to Chris Bosh, as both men were "rail thin centers" with elite shooting abilities.
Zeller isn't alone.
In that same report, it was stated that Kelly Olynyk is working out and attempting to become a forward—that's the operative word. Olynyk worked out with guards, hitting more three-pointers than notable prospects such as Marquette star Vander Blue.
While the likelihood is that he becomes a power forward, Olynyk is open to the idea of playing the 3—the 7'0" Gonzaga star could pan out as yet another stretch 4.
In a separate article by Chad Ford of ESPN Insider, another name on the rise is Florida Gators power forward Erik Murphy. While Murphy has not displayed elite athleticism or an ability to crash the boards in an adequate manner, he is a lights out shooter.
For that reason, Ford reports that Murphy could be selected in the early second round—yet another example of the rise of the stretch 4.