Massive trades with huge implications could happen in the next 24-48 hours before the 2013 NBA draft gets underway.
All-Stars are bound to get dealt in the coming days, and some teams are looking to acquire top picks in the draft. You heard that correctly.
Franchises will be looking to improve their rosters by dealing picks for picks, players for picks and picks for players. Chaos is going to break out as soon as commissioner David Stern steps up to the podium—there's no doubt about that.
Need to get updated with all the latest chatter? Here’s everything you need to know about the biggest deals that could go down before Thursday night’s NBA draft.
Bucks, Cavaliers Won’t Get Pierce
Boston president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has his hands in a lot of pots right now. One of Ainge’s goals is finding a suitor for Paul Pierce, about whom the Celtics must make a decision in the coming days. Boston can either exercise a $15.3 million option for 2013-14 or buy him out for $5 million.
The Celtics can also deal Pierce, which appears to be what they plan to do, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. Stein reports that the Celtics are looking to acquire a first-round pick in Thursday’s draft in exchange for the All-Star small forward. Boston currently only holds the No. 16 pick in the draft. The Celtics don’t have a second-rounder.
Stein reports that a few teams have called about Pierce, but if he’s going to get traded this week, it probably isn’t going to be to the Bucks or the Cavaliers. Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe reports that Cleveland offered multiple second-round picks to get Pierce. It appears Boston is only going to make a deal for a first-round pick, though.
Time is running out for the Celtics if they’re going to deal Pierce before the draft. While a first-round pick would be nice, the ability to hold multiple picks in the second round is beneficial too. Boston could use the No. 16 pick for a prospect with a lot of potential and the second-rounders for additional depth.
Bledsoe Heading to Orlando?
Eric Bledsoe has been one of the most talked-about players over the last few weeks, mainly because his future with the Clippers is in doubt. Los Angeles has been looking into dealing the backup point guard, which seems likely if the team re-signs Chris Paul this summer.
Orlando has been one of the organizations pursuing Bledsoe, and Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld reports that the Magic are constructing a package centered around Aaron Afflalo. The deal, per Kyler, would send Bledsoe and Caron Butler to Orlando and Afflalo and Andrew Nicholson to Los Angeles.
The deal would certainly favor the Clippers. Bledsoe is only going to be a backup with Los Angeles, and both he and Butler will hit the free-agent market after next season—Bledsoe is restricted and Butler is unrestricted. Afflalo and Nicholson are both signed through at least the next two seasons.
Los Angeles would be acquiring the shooting guard it so desperately needs as well as a top prospect. Willie Green started most of the time for the Clippers last year, and he only averaged 6.3 points in 16.5 minutes per game a year ago. The Clippers would survive without Butler in the staring lineup.
Cleveland Mulling Options at No. 1
For now, the Cavs hold the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. There’s no guarantee Cleveland will actually be making a selection with that pick, though. Cleveland may very well decide to trade the first pick if another franchise makes a good enough offer.
The Thunder, Timberwolves and Blazers have all called Cleveland about acquiring the No. 1 pick, but none have been able to present a deal worth the Cavs’ while, according to Chad Ford of ESPN. Ford believes Cleveland will end up keeping the pick and deciding between selecting Alex Len and Nerlens Noel.
Minnesota and Portland both have picks in the top 10, but each would need to sweeten the deal for Cleveland considerably. It would take at least a couple of picks this year and next year to land the No. 1 selection, in my opinion. Both will likely get solid players anyway, although this is a very top-heavy draft class.
There’s still plenty of time to make a deal, but Cleveland will be better off keeping the pick. The Cavs really need to add a star in the making to their roster, which already features Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson. While other picks could do the same, not many prospects have the potential Noel and Len have.