The NBA draft tends to play host to several trades as it is, but we could be in store for a record amount of swaps in 2013.
With what many are calling a relatively thin draft class, and with several expensive players ready to hit free agency on July 1, it seems that no team is content with their pick—whether they want to avoid the first round because of the talent pool or whether they simply want to package their pick with a contract in order to make a splash in free agency.
Whatever the reason, talk is seriously heating up with the draft just days away.
Let's take a gander at the most recent rumblings.
Denver Nuggets Shopping No. 27?
NBA Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri is gone for the Toronto Raptors, and replacing him is 36-year-old Tim Connelly.
Widely regarded as one of the league's burgeoning executive minds, Connelly is looking to make a noticeable early impact. As such, don't be surprised if he makes a major splash in his first draft with the Denver Nuggets.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski confirms that speculation:
It's not exactly surprising.
The Nuggets, desperately in need of someone to stretch the floor, could certainly add a shooter with that pick, but if Andre Iguodala indeed opts out of his contract, they will have money to go after someone more capable of producing right away, such as Kyle Korver or potentially J.J. Redick.
Besides, with an already-established core and young players like Evan Fournier, Jordan Hamilton and Quincy Miller expected to improve and make steadier impacts, there is little need for another young player.
You can buy this rumor.
Minnesota Timberwolves Attempting a Blockbuster
The T-Wolves already have a solid pick at No. 9, but new general manager Flip Saunders reportedly wants a guy who won't be available by then:
ESPN's Chad Ford and Marc Stein have the report:
The Wolves continue to try to move higher up in the draft to get their hands on Victor Oladipo. They're offering Derrick Williams, the No. 9 and the No. 26 pick to move up, but so far haven't found a taker. New Wolves GM Flip Saunders is enamored with Oladipo.
First of all, the fondness with Oladipo is completely warranted.
The man has a high floor and a high ceiling. At worst, he's an on-ball defensive nightmare for opposing shooting guards. At best, he's a bona fide All-Star who can defend, rebound, score in transition and knock down open threes consistently.
Oladipo has the body, athleticism, energy, toughness, hard-working mentality and infectious, charismatic attitude that suggests he's a future star.
Moreover, he's an ideal fit next to Ricky Rubio for the Wolves, who are in need of a future starting shooting guard.
It will be intriguing to see if any team bites on this tantalizing offer.
Adding Derrick Williams, a young stretch 4 who can score the ball and still has room to grow, and a late first-round selection just to move down a handful of picks where talented shooting guards such as C.J. McCollum or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope should be available wouldn't be easy to pass up.
Let The Dwight Howard Sweepstakes Begin
Two teams believed to be ready to challenge the Los Angeles Lakers for star free-agent center Dwight Howard are the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.
And it sounds like each squad is getting ready to use the draft in order to free up cap space for the dominant-yet-polarizing big man.
Here's Ford and Stein on the Rockets' reported plans:
The Houston Rockets are doing anything and everything they can to move Aaron Brooks or Carlos Delfino in conjunction with the draft before they're forced to just let them go in order to create as much cap space as possible for the long-planned pursuit in free agency of Dwight Howard.
Aaron Brooks and Carlos Delfino both have team options for this season, and if Houston is able to move them, it likely won't be a part of any major deal.
The Mavericks, however, seem to have bigger plans, according to ESPN's Marc Stein:
However, Stein also notes that if the Mavs do intend to trade Marion, they must ask him to opt in to the last year on his contract instead of becoming a free agent, so there are certainly a few potential complications.
Nevertheless, Marion along with the No. 13 pick will assuredly attract interest, so this is one to pay attention to as the Mavs attempt to do whatever necessary to clear cap space before July 1.
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