The 2013 NBA draft is just a couple days away (Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN), and the anticipation that there could be trades in the first round has the basketball world excited for what should be a wild event.
All of the following teams should be looking to move out of their first-round selection this year—either because a great deal presents itself or because stockpiling picks is the smart move for the franchise—and could be the keys to an unpredictable draft day.
No. 10: Portland Trail Blazers
While the Portland Trail Blazers could easily stay at No. 10 and get a viable bench player in Lehigh point guard C.J. McCollum, the fact that the franchise has four total picks on draft day could indicate a package deal to move up.
There is always a chance that the top 10 get shuffled around with a reach by a lottery team, and with a few teams in rebuilding mode picking before Portland, packaging two second-round picks with the No. 10 overall pick in order to move up is a very real option.
The Trail Blazers already have a talented roster, but with the need for depth and talent at both forward positions, if players like Georgetown star Otto Porter or UNLV’s Anthony Bennett are there at No. 6 or No. 7 overall, Portland would have to contemplate a trade.
No. 13: Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks have already reportedly had discussions about moving the No. 13 overall pick in order to free up cap space for an offseason push for a big-name free-agent signing, according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News:
Armed with their highest draft pick in more than a decade, the Mavericks are thinking strongly about trading the asset.
And “strongly” means it is a virtual certainty.
One source put the chances of the Mavericks having the 13th overall draft pick on their opening-day roster next season at 0 percent.
The smartest move would be trading this pick away to a team that will also take one of the Mavericks’ high-dollar contracts as well—veterans like Shawn Marion and Vince Carter have deals Dallas would love to move—freeing up even more cap space for the possibility of making a blockbuster signing like center Dwight Howard.
With plenty of talent left at No. 13 this year, the Mavericks won’t have trouble moving this selection.
No. 29: Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder have a serious low-post need to address on draft day, and as long as they get a player like Indiana center Cody Zeller with their No. 12 pick in the first round, there is a good chance they could get some serious value for the No. 29 pick.
Teams are always looking to move back into the first round in order to avoid losing a pick to a rival early in the second, and with the major void filled with the team’s first selection, putting the No. 29 pick on sale to the highest bidder is a great move for the future.
Oklahoma City doesn’t need to take a risk on a late first-round prospect who doesn’t pan out, and instead of wasting the selection, moving it to a team desperate to make the pick will only yield a better pick in the coming years.
That’s how a franchise builds a perennial winner.